Help Aust midwives change crazy legislation so that women AND babies count as patients.

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As it stands today babies born in hospital in Australia are admitted but not as patients and they are not counted in the number of patients in a midwife’s care, doubling the actual workload and reducing the amount of time that can be spent with each mother at such a vital time.  The government makes this ruling based on the premise that newborns will be completely cared for by their mother.  Even well babies born in hospitals though, will need specialised observations, investigations and often treatment that can only be provided by Registered Midwives or Registered Nurses.  Often mums are unable to independently care for their well babies following, for example, Caesarean section birth.

Common clinical care for babies includes:  2 hours of continuous oxygen saturation monitoring post birth plus 15 minutely observations, blood glucose monitoring for babies of mothers with diabetes, IV antibiotics, neonatal medications, blood tests, phototherapy for jaundice, specialised observations for sepsis risk/meconium aspiration/drug withdrawal are all common in high risk hospital environments.  And becoming more and more so.  These tasks have been added to the workloads of Midwives over the years, and with the growing number of women with complicated pregnancies the workloads are becoming increasingly unmanageable. 

Midwives are are expected to care for the same number of women as always, but the babies don’t count in their patient load. This needs to change now. These babies need to be recognised as patients in their own right and funded as such.  

Midwives need time to provide care to babies without compromising their ability to provide care for women’s physical, psychological and emotional health as they adjust to motherhood and recover from the birth of their baby.  We need to provide important breastfeeding support, newborn care education, safety education, discharge planning etc.  

We want the government to change the way babies are classified in hospitals where they receive clinical care like any other human being.  My letter to the health ministers explains in more detail what and why we need change to happen now.  I am hoping for a response to that and to this petition ASAP. Maybe by the time International day of the Midwife arrives in May we can get this through.

We need parents and parents-to-be to partner with us. Please add your voice to our cause and sign the petition. The change has to come from the federal health department, which is why this petition is directed to the Minister and Shadow Minister for Health.