AMA outraged that doctors left out of maternity plan

10 May 2017

The AMA is appalled that the opportunity for Australian governments to articulate a national vision to guide the future of public sector maternity services has been wasted. The draft National Maternity Services Framework, was developed without genuine consultation with the medical profession, and is so lacking in substance that it provides no ‘framework’ at all.

The working group responsible for the development of the framework had only one medical practitioner, a paediatrician, which is woefully inadequate when the medical practitioners involved in 21st century best practice care include General Practitioners, specialist Obestetricians, Anaesthetists, Psychiatrists, Obstetric Physicians, Pathologists and Haematologists.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, wrote to the Federal and Queensland Health Ministers about this late last year. As a result the Federal AMA’s Obstetrician and Gynaecologist representative was granted a one-on-one with the project consultants and a submission was also provided. Unfortunately, for Australian mothers and their babies, the AMA’s advice was not reflected or even acknowledged in the draft framework which was released in March for public consultation.

Dr Gannon has again written to the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, expressing his personal disappointment at the failure in transparency of the accompanying report to the draft framework which does not accurately reflect the consultation process undertaken to date.

Australia needs evidence-based, realistic, meaningful and systematic guidance for public sector maternity services which improves outcomes for mothers and babies. The framework provides no quantifiable benchmarks for measuring the success or failure of maternity services. It also fails to recognise and be guided by the evidence on maternity care, to discuss appropriate models of care, and it fails to consider babies health outcomes.

In its current form the AMA cannot support the draft National Maternity Services Framework – and we hope there will be a reconsideration and genuine partnership in drafting a new framework.

AMA Submission – draft National Maternity Services Framework