16 - 17 Aug 2021

Midwifery and the Law Seminar 2021

QRC: 4146
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Why Attend

Potential risks manifest in all areas of health care, including obstetrics and within midwifery practice. Do you have informed knowledge about the modern legal and professional aspects of midwifery? Attend this seminar to gain a comprehensive update on the following topics. It includes:

  • Laws relating to midwifery, including documentation and duty of care
  • Prescribing, Medicare and professional indemnity insurance
  • Refusing treatment during pregnancy
  • The legal status of an unborn child
  • The rights of fathers and grandfathers
  • What it means to be regulated - meeting registration standards
  • How social media can be used safely
  • Appearing in the Coroners Court - your role in providing evidence

Don’t miss out! Book now.


8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


Hot Topics

What are the contemporary issues confronting midwives in regard to areas of legal concern? This short discussion will provide an opportunity to raise some questions for exploration.


Law or Ethics: Choosing the Right Framework to Solve Clinical Dilemmas

When a clinical issue arises, do you reach for the ethical or legal framework to help you resolve it? This session will take a brief look at ethical frameworks, using four ethical principles to address a clinical issue. It will then look to the legal framework in order to resolve this issue in the best interests of those involved.

10:30am - Morning Tea


Laws Impacting on Midwifery Practice

According to the Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives in Australia, ‘Midwives practise and conduct themselves in accordance with laws relevant to the profession and practice of midwifery’. This session will refresh your understanding of the duty midwives have to act in accordance with standards, codes, organisational and professional policy, and the obligations of the employer, including vicarious liability.

  • Keeping in touch with statutory and common law - a review
  • Laws that currently have the most impact on the practice of midwifery
  • Understanding the concept of ‘duty of care’
  • The relevant professional codes, standards and guidelines
  • The essential facts about neglect and vicarious liability
  • The vital role of accurate and correct documentation
  • The effectiveness of professional indemnity insurance for midwives, including the pitfalls


Modern Midwifery: Medicare, Prescribing and Professional Indemnity

As the delivery of midwifery services change, some interesting issues may arise. We will look at:

  • What are some of the legal considerations if providing Medicare-funded care?
  • What are the legal obligations associated with prescribing from a formulary for midwives?

12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


Foetal Rights: Maternal Responsibilities

There is much debate about the viability, health and ethical situation of unborn children. Midwives may become involved in such considerations and it is advisable to have thought through some of the dilemmas. This session includes discussion on:

  • The definition of life and the rights of the unborn child
  • Whether a midwife should intervene if a mother is drinking to excess during pregnancy
  • Whether a mother can be sued for damage to her foetus caused by maternal neglect
  • The legal response to reckless maternal conduct


Refusing Treatment During Pregnancy: Whose Choice?

Midwives and the women in their care have a two-way relationship. However, women have a right to refuse treatment. This session looks at the legal issues in upholding the rights of the women and the obligations of the midwife. It includes:

  • If a woman refuses treatment or wishes to cease the relationship, what should you do?
  • What are the rights of the woman?
  • What if the midwife wishes to cease the relationship?
  • Conflict in care – what do you do when medical and midwives’ views differ?
  • Can a mother refuse life-saving treatment, if such treatment could cause the death of her baby?
  • Under what circumstances is consent waived?
  • Which processes need to be followed if consent is assumed?

2:45pm - Afternoon Tea


Parenting Rights

Who is the legal parent in surrogacy arrangements? What are the legal rights of estranged fathers and grandparents? We will look at:

  • What are the rights of the biological father before and after childbirth?
  • Do grandparents have any rights under the law?
  • How legal are surrogacy arrangements?


Documentation, Midwifery and the Law

The importance of quality documentation in midwifery from a legal perspective cannot be overstated. This final session will focus on the need to write accurate and timely reports. Using examples from case law, the following will be discussed:

  • What constitutes accurate documentation?
  • How should you approach writing incident reports?
  • What are the pitfalls and pearls in managing recorded care?

4:30pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


The Coroners Court and the Midwife Witness

Legislation in each jurisdiction defines circumstances when adverse events in healthcare are reportable to the Coroner’s court. This session will provide a brief overview of these requirements and explore the midwives role in appearing in this court as a witness.

  • What are reportable deaths and why is the midwife's documentation regarding them so crucial?
  • What would be expected of you if you were called to appear in the Coroner's court?
  • If this occurs, what legal advice should you seek?


Regulation for Midwives: An Update

According to the Code of Conduct for Nurses in Australia, ‘A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practise midwifery.’ This session will consider the definition from the national law perspective as an overview to the regulation of midwives and the protection of the public. It will also provide an opportunity to catch up on recent general developments of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

10:30am - Morning Tea


The Complete Package: Registration Standards and Auditing

There are specific standards with which midwives and nurses must comply under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the national law) in order to maintain registration. Recently, auditing has been introduced as a means to ensure compliance with the standards. This session will examine what these standards are, why they are important to the profession, how they protect the public and what non-compliance means to the practitioner.


CPD and Beyond

The registration standard for continuing professional development (CPD) specifies certain requirements for CPD, but what is CPD? What evidence do you need to meet this standard? How can you do this effectively and efficiently? This session will enable you to seek clarification about your professional accountability in CPD. Some frequently asked questions will include:

  • How do you self-assess competence and learning needs?
  • If you read a journal article about midwifery practice, can this count towards CPD hours?
  • If you manage a project in your workplace does this count as CPD?
  • Is it acceptable for you to undertake CPD requirements at one time each year?
  • What if you just meet the requirements through inservice?
  • Is there such a thing as a mandatory CPD activity?
  • What is a learning need?

12:45pm - Lunch and Networking


Professional Boundaries: A Detailed Appraisal

When professional boundaries are breached, unexpected consequences may occur. The NMBA provides a guide on professional boundaries. Let’s consider:

  • Why is maintaining a professional relationship/boundary in midwifery so important?
  • What are the consequences of breaching this boundary?


Unprofessional Conduct and Impairment

Anyone can make a complaint about a midwife’s health, performance or conduct under the National Law. However, it also requires that a registered health practitioner must notify the relevant board if in the course of practising their profession they form a reasonable belief that another registered health practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes ‘notifiable conduct’.

  • What is notifiable conduct?
  • How does the national law define unprofessional conduct and impairment?
  • What is the NMBA guideline for mandatory notification?
  • What are the exemptions from mandatory notification?
  • Who is responsible for making a report and when is it mandatory?
  • How do you make a report?
  • What are the powers of investigators under the national law?

3:45pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Social Media and the Health Practitioner

Social media use amongst health practitioners, while valuable, may also have negative effects on professional standards depending on how it is used. This session will discuss the growing issues and pitfalls of health practitioners using social media and will look at some cases of unprofessional conduct and the relevance to guidelines, especially in the context of codes of conduct and ethics.


Summary and Final Questions

5:00pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


educator avatar

Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in general, mental health nursing, law, education and a PhD in legal issues in elder abuse. Linda has extensive experience as an RN in metropolitan and rural locations, in general nursing, mental health, forensic health, aged care and management. She has held senior positions in academia, including the dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Linda has publications in health law and forensic health issues. Linda is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and a consultant educator in health law and ethics for nurses, midwives and carers. She is chair of the SA Board of Nursing and Midwifery, fellow of the College of Nursing Australia, foundation president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association, member on the School of Health Academic Advisory Board for Open Colleges and the international member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing.

Need for Program

Midwives are regulated health professionals who are required to practice in accordance with legislation and common law specific to midwifery and the broader healthcare context. They are accountable and responsible for their own actions within their practice. Knowing the underpinning legal and professional regulatory guides is essential for competent midwifery practice and the safety of women and babies in their care.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this seminar is to provide midwives with a forum to review and learn about contemporary professional and regulatory issues that affect their practice.

Your learning outcomes

  • Reflect on the laws relevant to the profession and practice of midwifery
  • Review current professional issues affecting midwives, including professional frameworks for competent practice
  • Explore concepts of negligence, liability and professional indemnity as they apply to midwives
  • Discuss the processes that occur when an untoward event takes place within a midwifery context
16 - 17 Aug 2021

Midwifery and the Law Seminar 2021

QRC: 4146
Mercure Hotel Brisbane
Brisbane, QLD, 4000
Price: $559.00