Disciplinary consent orders: Home birth midwifery

In Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia v Clifford, a former West Australian midwife and registered nurse was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 18 months for professional misconduct concerning a homebirth. The orders appear to have been made by consent, based on agreed facts.

The delivery in question was for a woman with a twin pregnancy, one of the twins being in a breech position. One of the twins died following the delivery. The then registered midwife was present at the delivery with an unregistered midwife from South Australia.

A summary of the issues has been published by the Nursing and Midwifery Board.

The tribunal found that Ms Clifford:

  • failed to practise in accordance with the National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral 
  • failed to communicate openly, honestly and effectively about the risks associated with a homebirth of twins, in breach of the Code of ethics for midwives 
  • failed to make adequate preparation for care of the patient during and following delivery of the twins 
  • failed to make adequate preparation for the delivery of twins including preparation of equipment for resuscitation 
  • failed to provide the second twin with adequate resuscitation following delivery 
  • failed to create or maintain adequate documentation of the patient’s care, labour and the birth of the twins, in breach of the National competency standards for the midwife, and 
  • as the only registered midwife present at the delivery, failed to ensure that safe and competent midwifery care was provided to the patient and the twins at all times.

This decision was noted by DLA Piper.



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