I have just spent a week in Australia catching up with midwifery friends and colleagues. There are a number of changes happening in the maternity system in Australia including national registration of midwives and the ability of midwives to claim funding so they can practice independent of hospital employment. These changes will put the maternity system more in line with that of New Zealand.
I have to say that I have come home very confused by all the different rules and regulations, and totally exhausted after listening to what midwives are saying about all the politiking that is going on both in the profession itself, and with the medical profession and government.
What it has made me realise is the beauty of the simplicity of midwifery regulation in New Zealand. I won't deny that there are things that I do not agree with, but here in New Zealand, a midwife is a midwife is a midwife. We are educated to be autonomous midwives as soon as we qualify and supported by legislation and insurance to be self-employed practitioners.
I wish my midwifery colleagues in Australia all the best as they move into a new era, and would like to say how much I respect and admire the work they are doing to move the profession forward. But boy, am I glad I am a midwife in New Zealand because I don't know if I would have the emotional energy to fight the battles they are fighting or go through the processes that are demanded of them before they can practice as self-employed midwives.
I'd love to hear from any Australian midwives or pregnant women. What is your take on the changes that are happening now? How will the changes affect you as midwife or mum-to-be?