We did it! Babies are now counted in a midwife's workload!

After years of campaigning to have babies counted, the Queensland Government has passed legislation stipulating that a newborn baby is to be counted as a patient when they are staying on a maternity ward with their birthing parent. Under the new law, Queensland will become the only state or territory in Australia to count both mothers and babies in midwifery ratios!

This is an important step to achieving the promised 1:6 midwife to mother and baby ratio across all Queensland Health maternity services. The QNMU expects the Hospital and Health Boards Regulation will be updated in the coming months to reflect the new midwifery ratios, which the Queensland Government has committed to implementing in a phased approach up to 2026. Once legislated and fully implemented, midwifery ratios will apply in public sector postnatal maternity wards at Queensland’s major hospitals, with a minimum ratio of one midwife to every six patients, including babies (1:6).

Be part of the largest collective of midwives and nurses in Queensland and join the Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union today!

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The QNMU is awaiting further details from the Queensland Government on exact timeframes and how ratios will be rolled out across the state. Read our full media release here.


More QNMU midwifery wins - homebirth, funding and a Queensland Chief Midwife

The QNMU has also secured other wins for midwives in recent months, including publicly funded homebirth for low-risk pregnancies, which will begin in mid-2024 on the Sunshine Coast with Qld Health midwives employed under a Midwifery Group Practice Model at Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The outcomes will guide the state-wide roll out. Read more about the announcement here.

Right now, Queensland and Tasmania remain the only states in Australia to not offer publicly funded homebirth. These services in Queensland will allow skilled midwives to provide maternity services for women where and when they are required based on a woman’s choice.

And after intense campaigning by Queensland midwives, nurses and allies, the Queensland Government committed to $16 million for regional, remote and rural Midwifery Group Practices, as well as made history by appointing Australia's first Chief Midwife in Queensland. Read more about these commitments here.

Significant commitments like these don’t happen on their own. They happen because QNMU members work collectively, in union, to escalate their issues. First to their line management, then to the people of Queensland and their elected representatives.

Whether you helped gather important evidence through our multiple audits, signed a petition, rallied outside Parliament House, or spoke with your local MP, congratulations on the role you played. Congratulations for defending and advancing the important role that midwives play in our health system and for insisting on the best care for new mums and, of course, their babies.

Join the QNMU