Australia’s eligible, privately practising midwives gained access the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) in 2010, providing Medicare-rebateable services to women and prescribing certain PBS-subsidised medicines, resulting in more affordable maternity care and choices for women.
The first Graduate Certificate in Midwifery course at Flinders University (SA) in 2014 had 160 applications, with 34 completing the course full time in one semester, and 79 more graduating after completing the course part-time.
Griffith University (NSW) offered a Screening, Diagnostics, Pharmacology and Prescribing for Midwives course in 2015, followed by University of Queensland, University of Canberra, and Edith Cowan University (WA).
The most recent ‘Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Registrant data’ (September 2021) reported 760 midwives currently hold endorsement ‘or scheduled medicines for midwives.
Author of the initial Flinders and Griffith courses, Dr Kirsten Small, says
“…For midwives, they can actually now work to the full scope of their practice… It really respects them as a health care professional in their own right.”
Endorsed Midwife Hannah Dahlen says
“the move to midwifery prescribing is an opportunity for midwives to provide women with another service and reduce the fragmentation of care… Midwives are finally being recognised for the skills they have, and are now being given that recognition and respect.”
Read the interview with Dr Small here and an interview with endorsed Midwife Hannah Dahlen here.
Mackay Birth Centre was the first birth centre in Queensland in 1994, and in 2019 Birth Centre midwives Julie Pratt and Allison Davis became the first midwives to be able to prescribe medication at the Mackay Hospital and Health Service.
Small, K., Sidebotham, M., Fenwick, J., Gamble, J. (2016). Midwifery prescribing in Australia. Australian Prescriber 39, 215-218. doi 10.18773/austprescr.2016.070