04 May 2018
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia's (NMBA) role is to keep the public safe.
All registered health practitioners are required to have professional indemnity insurance (PII) to help ensure the public is protected against any consequences which may arise from their practice. All privately practising midwives in Australia must meet the NMBA’s Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives (SQG) to be eligible for an exemption from PII when supporting intrapartum care for homebirths (section 284 of the National Law1). The exemption is granted by Health Ministers.
Throughout the development of the SQG, which began in 2014, the NMBA carried out broad consultation and listened carefully to the midwifery profession and key midwifery consumer groups who were fully supportive of the requirement of a second practitioner at a homebirth.
The SQG, based on best practice, requires that there must be two registered health practitioners, educated to provide maternal and newborn care and skilled and current in maternity emergency management and maternal/neonatal resuscitation, one of whom is a midwife, present at a homebirth.
This is a requirement that puts the safety of the woman and baby first. It is supported by recommendations from coroner’s reports about homebirths where there was an adverse outcome for either the mother and/or the baby.
The NMBA is committed to supporting safe, quality midwifery practice in all settings, and meets this commitment by developing evidence-based guidelines for the profession. The SQG are an important part of that commitment which ensures the safer care of women and their babies.
1 Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).