Andrea Quanchi is the first midwife in regional Australia to become a PBS prescriber and says the accreditation means women will have more control over pregnancy care and birth options.By Kathleen Tonini
Andrea Quanchi is now one of only four midwives in the country to have the ability to prescribe certain drugs to clients.
She is also the first midwife in regional Australia to become a PBS prescriber.
Mrs Quanchi is a privately practicing midwife in the district, though she also works at Echuca Regional Health.
She said in 2010, changes to Medicare were made to allow private midwifery services to be covered by Medicare.
Since then, she has been able to order ultra sounds and tests and her clients have been able to get a rebate when they access her services.
But to be able to prescribe medication has involved completing a university course and wading through layers of administration for the past 18 months.
Mrs Quanchi said the accreditation meant better continuity of care for her clients because they would not have to be referred back to a doctor for those medications.
‘‘I’m very excited,’’ she said.
‘‘This is about giving women more choice.’’
Mrs Quanchi said the Medicare changes meant women had more control over their pregnancy care and birth options.
‘‘I think it improves the outcomes for women, by having someone (their midwife) with them who knows what they want,’’ she said.
Her ability to prescribe medication extends throughout a pregnancy and up to six weeks after the birth.
Mrs Quanchi said a privately practicing midwife did not necessarily mean having a home birth, but was about offering choice and having the same person to oversee pregnancy care.
She said women could still choose to have their baby in the hospital if they engaged a private midwife.
Mrs Quanchi said it was still unclear whether her prescribing powers would be applicable in her role as a midwife at the Echuca hospital.
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