Caroline Homer, Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney, comments on the new report:
“It is an exciting time to be part of Australian maternity services! The key recommendations of the Report of the Maternity Services Review, commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, are exciting and encouraging and pave the way for a promising future for maternity services.
Now is the time to work with the recommendations and develop new and improved ways of working together. This means women, governments, professional bodes (midwives and doctors) and other key groups coming together to work out the future. We will all have to make compromises and to make the recommendations work. Having a National Maternity Services Plan is an excellent strategy and mechanism to bring everyone to the table.
Some of barriers will include political will, financial challenges and a fear of change. Some of the decisions are hard (eg Commonwealth funding changes, opening up prescribing rights, access for midwives to professional indemnity insurance, etc) and will take energy and commitment to actually make happen.
The Report has not gone far enough for some on all sides of the divide. I recognise this but also feel that it is a process – a process that takes time, commitment and compromise. From little things big things come is a useful mantra – the Review is a Big thing – from this, even Bigger things can come if we work together.
Developing safe, high quality and sustainable maternity services means working together and we all need to take up this challenge. Keeping women at the centre, rather than the professional groups, is essential.”