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27.04.16

Regulation changes risk leaving midwives without representation – RCM

Midwives have warned that government proposals to abolish an additional tier of statutory supervision could leave them without a voice in the NMC.

The Department of Health opened a consultation last week on the new proposals, which are intended to enforce midwifery supervision and prevent serious failings of care such as those leading to infant deaths at the Morecambe Bay hospital.

The plans include abolishing the additional statutory tier in the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for supervision of midwives, and are supported by the NMC.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said that although they supported the idea of non-statutory supervision for midwives and the proposals to upgrade Fitness to Practice procedures included in the consultation, they were “concerned about the system being able to sustain a non-statutory framework of supervision for midwives in the long term”.

She also warned that the proposals could mean there was “no voice for midwifery” in the NMC and midwives would largely be supervised by another profession.

Warwick said that although the NMC has appointed a one day a week midwifery adviser and a midwifery panel, these are non-statutory safeguarding positions that can easily be abolished.

She added that NMC have provided the RCM with assurance that the proposed changes do not affect the separate registration of midwives, direct entry to the register as a midwife, the protected title of a midwife, the protected function of attendance on a woman in childbirth or separate competencies and pre-registration education standards for midwives.

(Image c. David Jones from the Press Association)

Comments

Jack   28/04/2016 at 14:07

I have to say I find the position of the RCM confusing. The NMC and RCM have distinct roles with the former the regulator and the latter the representative of midwives. It seems perfectly sensible to me to bring midwifery regulation into the 21st century by doing away with a structure that allows peer regulation and it appears that the RCM agrees. The current system is built around statutory regulatory supervision which is a massively outdated and dangerous model that blends regulation with day to day practise supervision. Once regulation is taken away then it is for the RCM to step up and help form how non regulatory supervision should work. Instead of being worried the RCM needs to show leadership on this issue. I find it difficult to see why midwives are concerned about losing their voice at the NMC given that as the regulator the NMC is supposed to regulate in the interests of the public rather than nurses and midwives. As someone subject to regulation while I do expect to be consulted on any big changes, usually by a public consultation, I do not expect to be represented by a separate committee or distinct group within my regulator. Representative bodies are supposed to represent and lobby the regulator on the behalf of the profession that they represent not have agents within that regulatory body who by default must have split loyalties. The RCM needs to grow up and represent not whine and whinge about what might happen if there are changes without showing any real leadership on the issue.

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