Do you have a website? Do you give material to women you look after about the care you provide? Do you talk about your role as a midwife to those around you, or online? If you do, you are not alone.
Advertising who you are and what you do as a privately practising midwife is often a key part of letting women know about how you can help them through pregnancy, birth and afterwards. Like any business, you need to promote yourself. The key is doing so appropriately and sensibly. This is particularly so with a new focus on health practitioner advertising by AHPRA and the professional boards over the last few months.
MIGA has produced guidance for health practitioners on advertising their health care available from the links below.
Over time, AHPRA has released further guidance on National Law advertising requirements, most recently consolidating what it already has and providing new material in its Advertising resources.
Advertising requirements set out in s 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law provide that you cannot advertise in a way which:
- is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive
- offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use your services, unless your advertising also states the terms and conditions of the offer
- uses testimonials or purported testimonials about your care
- creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment
- directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services (i.e. those regulated under the National Law).
You are also restricted under the National Law in how you represent your training, expertise and experience, particularly around the use of titles and claims of specialty expertise.
There can be significant disciplinary and / or financial penalties for breaching National Law advertising obligations.
AHPRA and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, together with other professional boards, have produced Guidelines for advertising regulated health services, which detail what the National Law advertising obligations mean in practice, using examples of commonly advertised information.
More recent guidance includes advertising examples, indicating what is acceptable and unlikely to mislead, what may depend on context and what is unacceptable. The categories covered include when there is sufficient evidence to make certain claims about health care, how to describe specialty experience, when further warnings are required, what is considered a testimonial, and what is considered unnecessary encouragement to use health services.
Of particular note is that AHPRA has provided specific guidance on when a birth story is considered a testimonial, namely when a midwife, other practitioner or business shares, retweets or otherwise re-publishes or promotes a story to advertise health services.
We encourage you to review the helpful links below to ensure your advertising is appropriate and compliant.
If in doubt, contact us for medico-legal advice on 1800 839 280, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AHPRA guidelines for advertising health services
AHPRA Advertising resources
What health practitioners need to know about advertising
Access the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services
Check your advertising
AHPRA provides some examples for guidance
AHPRA - FAQ
Frequently asked questions about advertising regulated health