Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shellharbour Hospital gets new home birth service

Some exciting news has just published by ABC News. This adds to the growing trend of publicly funded homebirth programs in New South Wales.

New South Wales Health Minister Reba Meagher has announced a new home birthing service and family care centre for Shellharbour Hospital.

The family care centre will offer prenatal services and post-discharge midwifery support, such as help with breast feeding and sleep management.

The home birthing service will see publicly funded midwives offer continuity of care through a pregnant mother's labour, birth and postnatal care.

Ms Meagher says the new centre will add to the range of choices available to women in the Shellharbour region.

"This will mean those women who want to give birth at home will be able to do that with the support of a specially trained midwife. Increasingly women are choosing to have children at home," she said.

The home birth announcement has been welcomed by the New South Wales Midwives Association.

To read the complete article go to

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

National Health and Hospital Reforms Commission

On 25 February 2008, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health and Ageing announced the establishment of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. The commission will provide a blue print for tackling future challenges in the Australian health system. Out of the blue I received an invitation to attend a focus group, which was one of many groups facilitated by the commissioners across Australia. They brought together a diverse group of front line health care providers such as midwives, physiotherapists, ambulance officers, dieticians, nurses, doctors, prison health care workers (and quite a few other professions). It was a very interesting few hours. We sat randomly at round tables and worked as a group to discuss what we wanted to see changed in the health care system. We each had the opportunity to present two changes. Then together as a group developed three changes for the future. Each table presented their ideas (there were five tables in all). Out of all the ideas collected we had to all agree on five changes. Then a table was assigned one of these changes and we had develop ideas on how to achieve these changes. It was a fascinating process and easy to contribute to. As health professionals I found we all have similar ideas of what was needed for the future. I had the opportunity to speak for improvements in maternity care and have some of my ideas included into the submissions to the commissioners. I spoke for the right of women to have publicly funded homebirths, for the care of well pregnant women to be available in the community (rather than by the hospitals), to change from an illness focus to a wellness focus in maternity care and for the need of midwives to have professional indemnity insurance. While I was only one voice - I did feel that I was listened to. I do commend the government for this initiative. However I hope the Australia Government doesn't just produced a blue print for the future, I hope they choose to act on it rather than filing it in the bottom draw. To find out more visit the National Health and Hospital Reforms Commission Website.