New legislation introduced into State Parliament this week will give greater recognition to the role of midwives in Western Australia’s maternity services.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said the Nurses and Midwives Bill 2005 would allow midwives to provide more input into the future direction of maternity care.
“The Bill, which will replace the Nurses Act 1992, acknowledges the pivotal role of midwives as health professionals in the WA maternity system,” Mr McGinty said.
“These new laws will allow people who have completed the necessary qualification and training courses to register as midwives without having to register as nurses first.
“Midwives will also be given increased representation on the Nurses Board, which will be renamed the Nurses and Midwives Board.
“Two midwives will be appointed to the board and will be involved in determining codes of practice for nursing and midwifery, which will ensure midwives are given more say in the rules that govern their practice.”
The main role of the board will be the registration of nurses and midwives and investigation into members’ professional conduct and fitness to practise.
The Bill will enable the board to establish a three-member complaints assessment committee, which will replace the professional standards committee.
The complaints assessment committee will deal with disciplinary matters including allegations of nurses or midwives breaching the Act or acting carelessly, incompetently or improperly.
The State Administrative Tribunal will continue to deal with more serious complaints that may lead to suspension, as well as appeals against the decisions of the board regarding registration and restoration applications.
Mr McGinty said these new provisions would strengthen the board’s ability to address issues that affected a person’s ability to practise safely as a nurse or midwife.
“This will ensure high standards in nursing and midwifery are maintained and provide patients with the best and safest level of care from competent and well-trained staff,” he said.
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