Midwife disqualified for 18 months for professional misconduct

20 Feb 2017

A former midwife and registered nurse has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 18 months for professional misconduct concerning a homebirth.

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) found Ms Theresa Clifford guilty of professional misconduct in relation to a number of failures in her care of a patient, including failure to practise in accordance with the National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral.

In 2011, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) took immediate action and imposed conditions on Ms Clifford’s registration which restricted her to only working in secondary or tertiary maternity facilities (i.e. prevented her from assisting with homebirths).

Ms Clifford subsequently surrendered her midwifery registration in 2011, and has not been registered as a nurse or midwife since 2011.

In 2015, the Coroner completed a related investigation. The NMBA subsequently referred the matter to tribunal in July 2016.

The tribunal found that Ms Clifford:

  • failed to practise in accordance with the National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral 
  • failed to communicate openly, honestly and effectively about the risks associated with a homebirth of twins, in breach of the Code of ethics for midwives 
  • failed to make adequate preparation for care of the patient during and following delivery of the twins 
  • failed to make adequate preparation for the delivery of twins including preparation of equipment for resuscitation 
  • failed to provide the second twin with adequate resuscitation following delivery 
  • failed to create or maintain adequate documentation of the patient’s care, labour and the birth of the twins, in breach of the National competency standards for the midwife, and 
  • as the only registered midwife present at the delivery, failed to ensure that safe and competent midwifery care was provided to the patient and the twins at all times.

The tribunal reprimanded Ms Clifford and disqualified her from applying for registration for 18 months.

The reasons for the decision have been published on the tribunal’s website.

 
 
Page reviewed 20/02/2017