‘The RCM has not been party to this investigation by the NMC and so cannot comment on how their decision has been reached.This is undoubtedly a very difficult situation for the midwives affected and the women they care for.
It is true that midwives who cannot access adequate indemnity can continue to work either in the NHS or with small groups of midwives who have adequate insurance cover. It is however clear that the affordability of adequate indemnity insurance is potentially a significant barrier for some independent midwives.
For some time now NHS England has expressed their desire to create a climate in which small groups of midwives can deliver NHS maternity services outside of traditional NHS employment. It is also the case that England continues to have a significant midwife shortage. Evidence tells us that if we are to address that shortage we must, amongst other actions, ensure that midwives can work in models of service delivery which suit their personal needs and give them a sense of control over their work. It is of great concern that the lack of availability of affordable insurance should prohibit new models of service delivery. It is also accepted that women should be able to choose how they wish to access maternity care.
The RCM has worked with the NMC and others over many years to try to find a solution. Once again we are contacting the Government and NHS England to urgently find a solution which ensures women and their babies can choose care appropriate to their individual needs, and which enables midwives who want to practice independently to remain on the NMC register.
One solution to this could be NHS maternity services offering independent midwives honorary contracts. This type of contract would indemnify the midwife. It would require midwives to comply with Trust Governance arrangements but would still enable midwives to contract with individual women to provide one to one care. Some midwives already have such an arrangement in place.
To this end the RCM will be writing to the Chief Executive of NHS England, urging him to look at this as a potential solution to this issue, and urging all the parties involved to come together to look at the possible options.’
To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email email@example.com.
Notes to editors
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.