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Senate backs visiting rights for private midwives

A senate motion has called on the health minister to facilitate access and admitting rights for privately practicing midwives to Australia’s public hospitals.

The senate has passed a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing privately practicing midwives in Australia.

Last week’s senate motion called upon the government to work with states to resolve visiting access issues and to clear any other roadblocks preventing privately practicing midwives accessing Medicare and the PBS.

On November 1 2010, the government set aside $120 million for midwives in private practice to access Medicare and the PBS, but hardly any have been able to do so.

Dr Richard Di Natale, the Greens Spokesperson on Health, said the senate had recognised the issue and it was now up to the states to deliver.

"This situation has to change. Mothers want and expect continuity of care, not to have to say goodbye to their chosen midwife at the hospital doors,” he said.

"Because [private midwives] can't get visiting access rights, they can't be by their patients if they get admitted to public hospitals."

Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for women Lee Rhiannon, said midwifery care Australia was well behind other nations.

"It is time governments across Australia joined together to enable midwives to properly do their work."

The motion called on the Minister for Health and Ageing to investigate any further support necessary for privately practicing midwives to transition into private practice, to work to their full scope of practice and access MBS and PBS benefits.

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