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.



DNA to play key role in bestiality court case

Reece Parke gives the middle finger as he is led into the police station.

Court waiting for test results before proceeding

Bluesfest director: Nobody knows why Neil Young cancelled on us

Neil Young  (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Director of Bluesfest seemingly throws some shade at Neil Young

Funding for our public reserves available

Public reserves could receive funding under a state government intiative.

Public reserve managers encouraged to apply for share of $15 million

Local Partners

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

MACKAY will play host to one of the world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John later this year.

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Robert Irwin introduces Jimmy Fallon to wild guests

Robert Irwin introduces Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a cuddly sloth.

ROBERT Irwin continues Steve's legacy.

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from the movie Trespass Against Us.

Tough British film about criminal clan proves touching

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Calling all playwrights to compete in Hot Shorts

A Midsummer Night's Dream, a Drill Hall Theatre Company Production. Performer Ben Morrisey pictured at The Mullumbimby Drill Hall. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star

The Drill Hall Theatre's biennial short play competition is on again

Bluesfest director: Nobody knows why Neil Young cancelled on us

Neil Young  (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Director of Bluesfest seemingly throws some shade at Neil Young

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Clarence River island paradise selling for $5M

Former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes is selling her island getaway.

GALLERY: Tropical getaway with beaches and airstrip put on market.

Bidding could start at $1.4M for sought after property

Farrell McCrohon's Jojo Newby rides on a property recently listed at Buccarumbi

One of largest rural properties on market to go under hammer today

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!