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Australian Government Department of Health Statement

Australian Government Department of Health Statement

  • The Australian Government acknowledges the significant distress that birth trauma may cause and is committed to supporting appropriate maternity care services, including in the pre- and post-natal period.
  • The agreed national strategy for maternity services, including pre- and post-natal care services, is set out in “Woman-centred care: Strategic directions for Australian maternity services” (‘the Woman-centred Care Strategy’) agreed by the then COAG Health Council in August 2019.
  • Under this strategy, state and territory governments, together with public and private health services, plan for and provide maternity services to meet the needs of their communities.
  • The Australian Government supports the provision of maternity services, including pre- and post-natal care services, through:
  • its funding contribution for public hospital services, including maternity services, in all states and territories under the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA). NHRA funding has grown substantially from $13.3 billion in 2012-13 to $22.6 billion in 2019-20, or by 70 per cent and is projected to continue to grow under the new 2020-25 NHRA to $133.6 billion between 2020-21 and 2024-25. Three quarters of hospital births occur in State-managed public hospitals, and under the Woman-centred Care Strategy public hospitals and community health services should be providing follow-up care in the post-natal period.
  • subsidies under Medicare for chronic disease management, which may be applicable to post-natal care for birth trauma, and support assessment by general practitioners and up to five sessions of follow-up care by allied health professionals
  • over $6.6 billion in subsidies for private health insurance to support choice for people to use private health services, including maternity services.  Under the Woman-centre Care Strategy, private maternity care providers should be providing follow-up care in the post-natal period.
  • The Government would urge women who are experiencing birth trauma to talk to their maternity care provider – whether that is their obstetrician, hospital doctor, general practitioner or midwife – about options for follow-up care.