The Feasibility and Insurability of Independent Midwifery in England
report explores why professional indemnity insurance is not available for independently practising midwives.
Currently the NMC code recommends that if a midwife is unable to obtain adequate professional indemnity insurance they need inform the women in their care.
But new EU rules, due to come into place in 2013, mean all health professionals will be required to have insurance.
It will become the regulator’s responsibility to gain assurances that this cover exists.
The report states the one possible solution is independent midwives getting insurance by practising as part of a legal entity, such as a social enterprise company.
The report recommendations focus on the need to increase midwives’ understanding of their duty of care and the financial risks to themselves, the woman and child of practising without insurance.
Louise Silverton, RCM deputy general secretary, said: ‘There is simply little appetite in the insurance industry to insure these midwives, and time is running out for them.
‘The report points the way forward and offers possible solutions.
‘It would be a real blow to the midwives, the women they care for, and could care for in the future, if a solution is not found. Independent midwives provide services such as home births that can support and enhance those available in the NHS.
‘The RCM believe that a solution is achievable. However, it needs the will and commitment from the government and insurers.’
The report was commissioned by the RCM and the NMC after years in which independent midwives have failed to find insurers willing to underwrite the professional negligence risks.
NMC chief executive, Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes, said: ‘This was an important information gathering exercise and the recommendations in the report will contribute to the ongoing review of the code and also help inform future decisions around this important issue, in accordance with the EU rules on professional indemnity insurance from 2013.
‘We welcome the findings of the report, including the recommendation that we do more work around the duty of care.’