Maternity Care Reform – We need it know.

Governments, health services and maternity care experts are letting women down.

While Australia does have a strategy for ensuring all women receive respectful maternity care, the strategy is yet to be implemented.

Australia is yet to develop a strategy and targets to ensure all women receive best available evidence maternity care.  For example the rate of continuity of midwifery care has remained at around 10% for over a decade, when many august bodies and research papers have identified continuity of care with a known midwife is gold standard care and economically viable.  Why is this so?

Is it because women are not heard by governments? Or is it resistance to changing the status quo with people putting their own ego and financial security ahead of women’s safety.  We know that when women voice their wants – they are dismissed and belittled by the patriarchy.

The media plays a critical role in influencing the public – they need to do this responsibly.  The dynamics of the media system encourage quick, half formed inflammatory takes on an issue, not on the genuine search for truth.  This contributes to creating a climate of fear for those providing maternity care and for those receiving maternity care.  This is particularly relevant:

  • when things go wrong at home, it is considered preventable and when things go wrong in hospital it is considered inevitable; and
  • when it is portrayed that it is the woman’s body that faulty, not the system.

If we want the maternity care system to work better, we need to be uncompromising in listening to women, so that women’s voices are not silenced.

We must be uncompromising in designing a maternity care system that works for women and their babies.

We must ensure accountability for care outcomes and public funds expended.

We need to move beyond the polarised debates and achieve the best possible outcomes for women, their babies and their families.