HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has asked the national Nursing and Midwifery Board to "urgently review" professional development classes after a Daily Telegraph investigation revealed one was being run by a "birth companion" who believes eating placenta helps cure postnatal depression.

News Corp Australia can reveal Mr Hunt this week sent a letter to the board raising concerns that it is offering "no guidance" over what type of Continued Professional Development (CPD) course nurses and midwives can use to make up their compulsory training hours.

Currently there is no clear guidance about the type of courses midwives can do to meet their Continued Professional Development (CPD) requirements, other than that they must be “relevant”. Picture: iStock
Currently there is no clear guidance about the type of courses midwives can do to meet their Continued Professional Development (CPD) requirements, other than that they must be “relevant”. Picture: iStock

It is the board's responsibility to ensure nurses and midwives complete at least 20 hours of CPD courses each year in order to maintain their registrations.

But in his letter Mr Hunt said it was "unclear" how it was ensuring the classes being taken were relevant.

"As the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) does not itself accredit or require CPD to be accredited in any way, it remains unclear how the suitability, relevance or appropriateness of activities undertaken are assessed by the NMBA," he wrote.

Mr Hunt asked his Chief Nurse, Debra Thoms, to give him advice about the courses after The Telegraph revealed those being used included a "natural therapies masterclass" run by a doula - or birth companion - who believes eating placenta "decreases baby blues".

According to an advert, the "fabulous" masterclass covers teachings on aromatherapy oils, "acupressure" and even rebozo, a technique using a scarf to help a woman give birth.

Other classes being promoted for CPD include hypnosis, yoga and a webinar on supplements - run by a naturopath selling them.

Currently courses being promoted for midwives cover such varied topics as acupressure, rebozo, hypnosis, yoga and supplementation. Picture: Istock
Currently courses being promoted for midwives cover such varied topics as acupressure, rebozo, hypnosis, yoga and supplementation. Picture: Istock

Mr Hunt said he was disturbed the courses, not run by registered health practitioners, were being promoted for CPD.

"I find this alarming and seek your view on how this contributes to the further professional development of nurses," he said in his letter.

"I request that the NMBA conduct an urgent review and provide the criteria it uses to consider whether or not a particular CPD activity satisfies the requirements of the registration standard 'Continued Professional Development' and delivers on its intended purposes."

A spokeswoman for the NMBA said it had received Mr Hunt's letter and was "considering the matters raised".

"The NMBA CPD guideline recommends nurses and midwives complete a range of CPD activities throughout the course of the registration period," the spokeswoman said.

"Any activities which are not relevant to their professional practice cannot be counted towards CPD."



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