Maternity Services Review - Overview

Welcome to the Maternity Services Review page.

Page last updated: 15 November 2012

This page provides background information on the Australian Government’s 2008 Maternity Services Review and the 2009/10 Budget Package: “Providing More Choice in Maternity Care – Access to Medicare and PBS for Midwives”.

For more information on the implementation of the reforms, return to the Maternity Services Reforms page.

The Government has undertaken a Review of Maternity Services (the Review). The Review was led by the Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Ms Rosemary Bryant.
Picture of ms Rosemary Bryant, Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer.Ms Rosemary Bryant, Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer

The Review was the first step in developing a comprehensive plan for maternity services into the future.

The Review :

        • canvassed a wide range of issues relevant to maternity services, including antenatal services, birthing options, postnatal services up to six weeks after birth, and peer and social support for women in the perinatal period;
        • ensured that all interested parties had an opportunity to participate; and
        • will inform the development of a National Maternity Services Plan.
As part of the Review consultation process the Department prepared Improving Maternity Services in Australia: A Discussion Paper from the Australian Government.

A large number of submissions were received during the consultation process.

Thank you to all those who have contributed to the consultation process.

The Report of the Maternity Services Review is now available, including an online readable version of the report. If you would like a printable copy and are unable to access the PDF, please send an email to Maternity Services Review and an alternative copy will be provided.

The Australian Government has responded to the recommendations of the Report with the $120.5 million Budget package Providing More Choice in Maternity Care – Access to Medicare and PBS for Midwives. This Budget package provides Australian women with more choice in maternity care whilst maintaining our strong record of safe, high quality maternity services.

On 16 March 2010 the Australian Parliament passed the: Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Act 2010; Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Act 2010; and the Midwife Professional Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Act 2010. The maternity reform legislation provides MBS and PBS benefits, as well as professional indemnity insurance, for services provided by appropriately qualified and experienced midwives. These arrangements will not cover planned homebirths, which are exempted from the need for midwives to have professional indemnity insurance until 30 June 2015. Further information on the reforms is available on the Maternity Services Reforms page
    On 1 July 2010 The Medical Insurance Group (MIGA) was appointed by the Government as the sole provider of professional indemnity insurance to eligible privately practising midwives. Further information is available from the MIGA website or freecall 1800 777156.

    The Budget package also delivers more services for rural and remote communities through an expansion of the successful Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program, and extra scholarships for GPs and midwives, particularly in rural and remote Australia. Additionally, the existing Pregnancy Birth Helpline was expanded and improved to deliver a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone helpline and information service.