National Maternity Services Framework facing a difficult birth

15 Jun 2017

The AMA is warning that the planned new National Framework for Maternity Services (NFMS) is doomed to fail due to inadequate stakeholder consultation and the spectacular failure to adequately engage expert obstetric, general practice, and other crucial medical specialists in its development. Following an agreement at the April 2016 COAG Health Council meeting, the Queensland Government was tasked to lead the project to develop the NFMS, under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC).

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, an obstetrician, said it was outrageous that specialist obstetricians and GPs have been marginalised in the development of the Framework.

“Not involving a single obstetrician in a 12-member group tasked with looking at maternity services is like conducting a law and order review without talking to the police,” Dr Gannon said.

“GPs not only routinely offer obstetric services in outer metropolitan, rural, and regional areas, but deliver antenatal and postnatal care to thousands of Australian women. There was not a single GP representative appointed to the AHMAC’s Maternity Care Policy Working Group,” he added.

“Further, there is no acknowledgement that best practice care of mothers involves anaesthetists, obstetric physicians, psychiatrists, pathologists, and haematologists, none of whom were invited to assist in the development and drafting of the NFMS.

Dr Gannon said the AMA wants to see a strong NFMS and is calling on COAG, AHMAC, and the NFMS Working Group to formally and genuinely engage with the medical profession – obstetricians in particular – before there is any further policy development or public reporting on the Framework.

“The health of mothers and their babies deserves a thorough and professional Framework to ensure the best possible care,” Dr Gannon said.

Full media release