27 Oct 2023
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has released the below statement for privately practising midwives affected by the gap in professional indemnity insurance for intrapartum care.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) recently received a letter from the Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) informing us that on 17 October 2023, they became aware of a gap in the professional indemnity insurance (PII) cover provided by MIGA for intrapartum care by participating midwives outside of a hospital setting.
On 1 March 2022, Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) item 82116 was introduced by Services Australia for participating midwives to manage labour for up to six hours, not including birth, at a place other than a hospital. A requirement of any MBS listing is that PII cover is available for that service, however that is currently not the case for item 82116.
Since identifying the gap, the Department has advised that midwives should not claim the MBS item until the issue is resolved. We understand that the Department is investigating options to extend PII for intrapartum care provided outside of a hospital setting so the issue is resolved as soon as possible
We acknowledge that Privately Practising Midwives (PPMs) have been providing this service to women since 2013, well before the MBS item was introduced.
All PPMs must continue to comply with the NMBA Registration standard: Professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements which requires midwives to be covered by Professional indemnity arrangements for all aspects of their practice and the Safety and quality guidelines for privately practising midwives.
If you are a PPM providing services to women outside of hospital, those services cannot currently include intrapartum care where home birth is not planned.
The issues raised by the Department of Health and Aged Care do not apply to PPMs providing homebirth services or to PPMs that provide antenatal or postnatal care only.
Please contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495 if you would like to discuss this matter or have concerns.
Midwives should contact their insurer if they have questions about their insurance cover. Midwives may also wish to speak to their professional association or union about any concerns they may have.