News

Homebirths hit by insurance law

Audrea and Jakub Juszczak, of Lismore, with their week-old baby Annikka and their son Jarvis, 22 months.
Audrea and Jakub Juszczak, of Lismore, with their week-old baby Annikka and their son Jarvis, 22 months. Jacklyn Wagner

NORTH COAST midwives who attend homebirths could soon be out of a job after a Senate committee yesterday recommended all homebirth midwives be insured.

Midwives warn this would shut them down because no insurance company in Australia will cover homebirths.

Lismore midwife Audrea Juszczak, who gave birth to her second child on August 8 at home, says the health of women and newborns could be jeopardised if the Federal Government adopts yesterday's recommendations from the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs.

Ms Juszczak said women intent on having their babies at home would no longer be able to access a registered midwife and would instead have to rely on unqualified help or 'go it alone'.

“I believe that in most circumstances homebirth is safe, but there are circumstances where intervention is necessary and someone who is not skilled may not pick up on those instances,” Ms Juszczak said.

“So potentially, in those few cases, it will be more dangerous for those women and those babies.”

With the Government also considering $30,000 fines for uninsured midwives who helped with homebirths, Mrs Juszczak said she would stop delivering babies at home if insurance for midwives became compulsory.

Vicki McAllister, of the Northern Rivers Maternity Action Group, said insurance companies stopped insuring homebirth midwives in 2001.

“There was a $12 million payout against a Melbourne obstetrician and that led to a general blow-out for insurance covering births,” she said.

“The pool of independent midwives was so small that it wasn't financially viable for insurance companies to hold a policy for them.”

Ms McAllister said women opting for home births were told midwives were uninsured and sometimes were asked to sign a disclaimer.

“But even if the midwife can't gain insurance, she is still registered (with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Board) so you know that the woman has a particular level of expertise and experience,” she said. “The impact of this is that women will no longer be able to access a registered midwife for a homebirth, so basically it opens up the door to unsafe practice for women in homebirths.”

Ms McAllister said some registered midwives might choose to become unregistered and continue delivering babies, but she was frightened unqualified women would begin offering to oversee homebirths

“How will you know that the person coming to you is actually trained? This might create a situation where anyone could claim to be a homebirth midwife,” she said. “There will be no way of regulating the standard of care provided by midwives.”

She said it would also discourage some women from having homebirths.

“This will shut down choice because a lot of midwives won't want to practice unregistered,” she said

Byron midwife Sue Cookson, who has delivered more than 400 babies at home in 27 years, said she did not oppose compulsory insurance for midwives, but she is calling on the Federal Government to underwrite their insurance.

“I have faith that the issue will be dealt with. There are a lot of women working very hard to change this,” she said.



Festival sale will 'ruin' Byron Bay: LETTER

The Falls Festival at North Byron Parklands.

"Byron will be ruined and ratepayers will carry the costs"

Lismore's carols get the X Factor

Sydney pop duo Jess Dunbar and Matt Price, known from the 2015 season of Australia’s X Factor, will perform at the 2016 Shopbaby Carols in the Heart at Lismore.

X Factor stars Jess and Matt to headline the family event

Local Partners

Festival sale will 'ruin' Byron Bay: LETTER

The Falls Festival at North Byron Parklands.

"Byron will be ruined and ratepayers will carry the costs"

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Lismore's carols get the X Factor

Sydney pop duo Jess Dunbar and Matt Price, known from the 2015 season of Australia’s X Factor, will perform at the 2016 Shopbaby Carols in the Heart at Lismore.

X Factor stars Jess and Matt to headline the family event

Mel Gibson named Best Director at AACTA Awards

Mel Gibson poses in the media room after winning the AACTA Award for Best Direction for Hacksaw Ridge.

HIS wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge sweeps 6th annual awards in Sydney.

Mark Hamill unaware his co-stars were romantically involved

Hamill too "self-involved" at the time to notice, he said

ABC's Fresh Blood graduates are a Skit Box full of laughs

Sarah Bishop, Greta Lee Jackson and Adele Vuko in a scene from the TV series Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am.

ALL-female comedy trio hitting the mark with new sketch show.

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!