Key messages

  • Funding is available to attract and retain midwifery graduates and midwives in rural areas.
  • Postgraduate midwifery studies scholarships are available for rural registered nurses.
  • The Maternity Connect Program (MCP) helps midwives in rural health services to work for a period of time in another health service to update their skills.
  • Private midwifery practice models can be set up in public health services.
  • Suitably qualified and authorised registered midwives can prescribe scheduled medicines.

There is a range of programs and initiatives to support public health services and maternity providers.

Rural midwifery clinical supervision

The department is funding rural Victorian health services to enhance rural midwifery clinical supervision and rural maternity services by:

  • attracting new midwifery graduates to work in rural settings
  • supporting existing rural registered nurses (RNs) to undertake postgraduate midwifery studies
  • improving the retention of existing rural midwives and increasing clinical connections.

The activities funded will differ across sites and across years, depending on demand and local drivers. Current activities include:

  • supporting an increase in registered nurse and registered midwifery (RN/RM) graduates undertaking graduate programs within rural settings
  • establishing a rural consortia to set up and deliver collaborative early graduate programs for RN/RM graduates that blend exposure at larger sites with smaller sites, attracting graduates to sites that have been unsuccessful in employing midwifery graduates in the past
  • developing a combined RM/RN graduate year program outline that will be a resource for health services that are employing graduates of the combined Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery for the first time and need to implement a combined graduate year program
  • making specific rural midwifery scholarships available for RNs employed at small rural maternity services (less than 600 birth separations annually) to undertake postgraduate studies to register as a midwife – this ensures that dual registered staff are available to flexibly meet the service demands of smaller rural services were birth numbers are low
  • funding for additional postgraduate midwifery training places for clinical placements and supervision for the rural midwifery scholarship students.

Maternity Connect Program

The Maternity Connect Program (MCP) was developed to help rural health services continue to deliver quality maternity services in their local communities.

Through the MCP, rural health services can arrange for their midwives to work for a planned period of time in another health service to make sure their workforce has the skills required.

The MCP will help rural midwives develop and maintain their skills and knowledge, and make sure the women in their local communities continue to receive quality maternity care.

Western Health is operating the program on behalf of the department.

Eligible midwives and collaborative arrangements: an implementation framework for Victorian public health services

In 2012 the department developed an addendum to the Credentialling and defining the scope of clinical practice for medical practitioners in Victorian health services policy to:

  • guide health services on the minimum requirements for credentialling
  • define the scope of practice for eligible midwives.

This follows legislative changes enacted by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments that facilitate private midwifery practice models in public health services.

The toolkit page provides a template for credentialling and defining the scope of clinical practice for eligible midwives.

In partnership with the 3Centres Collaboration (Mercy Hospital for Women, Monash Medical Centre, The Royal Women’s Hospital), the department developed Eligible midwives and collaborative arrangements: an implementation framework for Victorian public health services to guide Victorian health services participating in collaborative arrangements with eligible midwives.

Amendments to the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Supply by Midwives) Act 2012 amends the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 to allow suitably qualified and authorised registered midwives to prescribe scheduled medicines.

Some of the questions regarding the amendments to the Act and the ministerial approved list of drugs for endorsed midwives are answered in the ‘Frequently asked questions’ document listed below.

Prescribing list for endorsed midwives

The Minister for Health approved the list of scheduled medicines for use and supply by endorsed midwives, and the list was published in the Victoria Government Gazette no. S 410 on 20 November 2012.

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