Home births: Permanent prohibition on provision of midwifery services

In Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Barrett [2014] SAHPT 1, the respondent was a registered midwife until she voluntarily surrendered her registration. The Board alleged that she  carried out midwifery services in such a way that her conduct was substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a midwife of an equivalent level of training or experience; tragically several infants died. Despite surrendering her registration the respondent continued to carry out midwifery services.

There was a finding of professional misconduct, with a reprimand, a fine and an order that respondent is permanently prohibited from providing midwifery services. The prohibition order was expressed in the follow terms at [198]:

“(3)     pursuant to s 196(4) of the National Law the respondent is permanently prohibited from providing, undertaking or carrying out, whether directly or indirectly, services or any other acts in any way related, or of and incidental, to the health service of the practice of midwifery including, without derogating from the generality of same, the assessment and monitoring of women during pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and of their newborn babies, the provision of care during pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and the conducting of deliveries whether spontaneous normal vaginal deliveries or otherwise.
(4)    for the purpose of order 3, practice (“Practice”) means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a midwife. Practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes working in a direct non clinical relationship with clients or others, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impacts on safe, effective delivery of services in the profession and/or use of their professional skills……”