From 1 January 2017, new Nursing and Midwifery Board safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives come into force.

The new guidelines replace the Safety and quality framework for privately practising midwives attending homebirths, and offer some significant changes and clarifications.

The new guidelines are a summary of requirements to obtain an exemption from the need to hold insurance cover for home births, and requirements around other areas of private midwifery practice, including antenatal and postnatal care. In particular:

  • They place greater emphasis on risk assessment using the Australian College of Midwives National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral, and include requirements for documenting and following the referral pathways those guidelines provide
  • They require two suitable, registered health professionals to be present at all home births – one of these needs to be a midwife and both must be “educated to provide maternal and new born care, and skilled and current in maternity emergency management and maternal/neonatal resuscitation”.

Further requirements are also set out for:

  • Informed consent – this must be in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) General guidelines for medical practitioners on providing information to patients and, for home births, there are requirements around disclosure in writing about the absence of insurance cover for home births and obtaining written consent from the woman
  • Care plans – include consideration of distance and travel time to an appropriate hospital if transfer is required
  • Collaborative arrangements – be able to demonstrate documented practice complying with the NHMRC National guidance on collaborative maternity care
  • Perinatal data submission, clinical audit (including annual documentary requirements), adverse event management and reporting, and practice review programs (including annual competency in adult basic life support and neonatal resuscitation and training in accordance with Board CPD registration standards).

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with these new guidelines and their requirements, particularly as they incorporate a variety of other material.

Other resources

  1. Safety & quality

    Nursing and Midwifery Board safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives

  2. Informed Consent

    General guidelines for medical practitioners on providing information to patients

  3. Collaborative maternity care

    NHMRC National guidance on collaborative maternity care

  4. CPD Registration standards

Prefer to read a PDF of the Bulletin? Download it here

We'd love to hear your feedback, comments and ideas

SUBMIT FEEDBACK