Improving maternity services in Australia: the report of the Maternity Services Review

Next Steps: Developing a National Plan

Page last updated: February 2009

Support for the Australian Government’s commitment to develop a National Maternity Services Plan was strongly indicated in submissions to the Review, including those from state and territory governments, professional organisations representing health care providers, consumer bodies and other organisations. State and territory governments and stakeholder organisations alike expressed their commitment to working with the Australian Government in developing the Plan.

While many of the areas for future work identified in this Report will require considerable further development to progress to implementation, there are areas where implementation could commence more quickly. In all areas, the collaboration of both levels of government, in consultation with health professionals, consumers and other organisations, will be important.

Some participants in the Review have suggested a fundamental realignment of Commonwealth and state funding and accountabilities for maternity services as the mechanism to address identified concerns. As discussed above, the Plan may need to consider any proposed realignment of responsibilities over the longer term that may come from the report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.

Throughout the review process, the willingness of participants to engage collaboratively in examining the issue of maternity reform was strongly evident. To progress further, and to develop the Plan, arrangements that will support the ongoing engagement of states and territories and other stakeholders are considered essential.