Raising the barIT HAS been claimed that in an interview with The Sunday Age, I stated my greatest achievement so far as AMA president was to curtail a woman's choice to choose a home birth. This is not correct.
I consider my greatest achievement thus far was promoting to Government a collaborative care amendment to legislation before the Parliament. This amendment underpins the importance of doctors and nurses and doctors and midwives working together to provide the best quality care for our patients. It confirms in legislation the recommendation of the Maternity Services Review.
The amendment does not impact in any way on the existing arrangements for midwives providing care for women who choose home birth. These midwives are exempted from the requirement to carry indemnity insurance, provided they inform their patients that they are not indemnified, and meet reporting requirements that will be overseen by the Victorian Health Department.
Similarly, in line with the recommendations of the Maternity Services Review, midwifery care for home birth will not be funded by the Commonwealth, so the amendment in no way impacts on midwives who currently provide care for women choosing home birth.
Dr ANDREW PESCE, federal AMA president
At what risk?PASSIONATE single-issue advocates have been hard at work flooding The Sunday Age with pro-home birth propaganda. But who is looking after the interests of the unborn child?
One assumes that the statistics speak for themselves. In the 19th century, when home birth was common, the death rate was more than 1 per cent of live births, leading to the development of women's hospitals specialising in gynaecological care.
While most home births are successful without intervention, so are births in hospital. However, when intervention is required, specialist help is immediately available. Women choosing home birth should be required to sign an undertaking recognising the risks that they are assuming on half of themselves and their unborn child, and to provide an indemnity to any service provider other than their midwife in the event of a crisis.
GREG ANGELO, Balwyn North
Park and ride instead