Sunday, 4 August 2019

Next Steps: National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS)

As I've discussed previously here and here on this blog, there is a National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS) in the process of being written for Australia.  Despite the overwhelming and extraordinary amount of evidence of the benefits of Continuity of Midwifery Care, the draft NSAMS omits it. The graphic below from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows exactly what benefits there are for women and their babies when they have their own midwife. 

The omission of this simple, exquisitely effective and profoundly important 'intervention' for childbearing women and their families in the draft National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS) is appalling and must be corrected.  Continiuty of Midwifery Care must be the essential part of any Maternity Service and certainly the National Strategy for Maternity Services. 

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is meeting this week and will be discussing the draft NSAMS

Please write urgently to your State and Federal Member of Parliament and alert them to the issue and request they ensure that Continuity of Midwifery Care is the default for Maternity services and must be avaiable across the board for childbearing women throughout Australia - it is the safe, sensible and satisfying option for maternity care with short and long term health and budget implications. 

You can find your local Federal Members of Parliament here
To find your State/Territory MP, google your state/territory government and a link will come up for you. 

My letter is below - you are welcome to copy/use it for your email to your local members; if you want a copy of the letter sent to the Hon Mr Greg Hunt, please email me on
Dear ... 
I am writing to you as my State Member of Parliament to ask you to ensure that Continuity of Midwifery Care (CoMC) is promoted in the National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS) and written into policy that it should be available across the board to all childbearing women throughout Australia.  Could you please inform your State MP colleagues in the Labor Party of the importance of this inclusion and also promote the need to include CoMC in NSAMS with the Hon Brad Hazzard as NSW Minister for Health and the Hon Bronwyn Taylor as NSW Minister for Women. 

So you are fully informed about this issue, please find attached a letter written to Hon Mr Greg Hunt about the omission of midwifery continuity of care in the draft National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services. Our message for the Minister was not to sign off on NSAMS without continuity of midwifery care being identified as the model supported by the evidence and that is should be universally accessible.

The letter contains the evidence clearly articulated as to why, for the wellbeing of women and their infants, continuity of midwifery care should be the basis of the maternity health care system. I've also attached a very recent article which found a significant reduction in morbidity for women and their infants with midwifery continuity of care, compared with care in an obstetric-led tertiary level maternity hospital. 

These reductions in morbidity and mortality through continuity of midwifery care for women and their infants have short and long term implications for not only the health and wellbeing of these people but also for the health care dollar.  Expenditure on maternity care would be significantly reduced with a national continuity of midwifery care approach to maternity service provision.
We can do this Australia, let the Government know your thoughts!

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