Fact sheet: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives

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The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) carries out functions as set by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The NMBA regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and one of its key roles is to protect the public. The NMBA does this by developing registration standards, professional codes, guidelines and standards for practice which together establish the requirements for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia. 

The Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives describes the necessary qualifications that a midwife must demonstrate when applying for and maintaining endorsement for scheduled medicines.

The following questions answer common queries about the Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives (the Endorsement).

This fact sheet applies to midwives registered in Australia who are applying for, or renewing, the Endorsement.

The Endorsement means that the midwife has met the requirements of the NMBA Registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives and is qualified to prescribe scheduled medicines and to provide associated services required for midwifery practice in accordance with relevant state and territory legislation.

The NMBA has broadened the ‘context of practice’ to recognise that not all privately practising midwives (PPMs) provide intrapartum care in the home, for example, there are PPMs who provide care in discrete areas such as postnatal care (e.g. specialist lactation services) and/or antenatal care.

When applying for the Endorsement, if you are not applying across the continuum of care, you will be required to nominate a context of practice.

The NMBA has approved the following contexts of practice for the endorsement:

  • antenatal,
  • postnatal, and
  • ante and postnatal.

When applying for the Endorsement in a context of practice, the requirement for three years’ full-time clinical practice (5,000 hours) in the past six years, can be drawn from both practice specifically in the context of practice and from roles where the midwife was working in that and other contexts of practice. For example a midwife applying in the postnatal context of practice could use a percentage of the hours worked in a maternity unit caring for both ante and postnatal women.

The context of practice will not be recorded on the Endorsement of the midwife on the national register.

The NMBA acknowledges that some midwives working towards the Endorsement may observe the practice of other midwives, including PPMs.. However, any observational hours cannot be counted towards the three years’ full-time clinical practice (5,000 hours) in the past six years that is required for the purposes of gaining the Endorsement.

If you want to change or add a context of practice to your Endorsement you must do so in accordance with the NMBA’s Decision-making framework for nursing and midwifery. You should also make sure that your professional indemnity insurance arrangements cover the changes to your context of practice and that you inform your insurer about the change to your context of practice.

Once you hold an Endorsement you will be eligible to apply to Medicare Australia for a Medicare provider number and/or a PBS provider number. Once you meet the Medicare Australia requirements you will be able to provide Medicare rebateable services and become an authorised PBS prescriber. For more information refer to the Australian Government Services website.

If you are a privately practising midwife with the Endorsement, you must also meet the requirements of the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives.

All midwives, including midwives with an endorsement, must have appropriate PII arrangements in place for providing midwifery services, unless an exemption under section 284 of the National Law applies.

Under section 284 of the National Law, there is exemption from PII arrangements for midwives practising private midwifery who provide intrapartum services for women planning to have homebirths. This exemption is strictly limited to the provision of private intrapartum care provided in a homebirth setting and is only available to midwives who hold the Endorsement and who meet the requirements set out in section 284 of the National Law.

Midwives working in private practice must have appropriate insurance to provide antenatal and postnatal care to women in their care, regardless of the planned location of the birth.  

 
 
 
Page reviewed 9/09/2021