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RCM responds to DH consultation on midwifery regulation – more challenges ahead

1 September, 2016

RCM responds to DH consultation on midwifery regulation – more challenges ahead

Following on from our previous blogs  we are still faced with the challenges in relation to the changes to midwifery regulation. 

The consultation closed at the end of June and you can see the RCM response here. We have been informed that approximately 1,400 responses were received including a high number of responses from individual midwives. Our response together with those from midwives and other key stakeholders are now being analysed by the DH legislation team and a report with options to proceed will be subject to ministerial approval in September. If all goes to legislative plan the Section 60 Order will be laid in the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments in late Autumn prior to being subject to parliamentary process, including debates in the House of Commons and Lords commencing January 2017. If the legislation is passed  it is anticipated that the coming into force date  for the removal of the statutory supervision of midwives and the Midwifery Committee  will be March 31st 2017.

As we have outlined in previous blogs the DH published its proposals for changing the system of midwifery supervision and outlined the key principles in January 2016.

Since then in each of the four UK countries a cross-organisational, multi-stakeholder supervision taskforce led by the CNO’s office has been established. The taskforces are overseeing  the development of a new model and framework for supportive  midwifery supervision to continue once the recommended legislative changes to remove the regulatory aspect are enacted. The four country taskforces are developing a new model of supervision which will be employer-led and delivered locally but with an agreed set of national principles. They are also identifying key national principles for the education and training of those midwives who will take on the role of a supervisor in the future. Supervision for midwives is currently the working title for the new model but if any of you can think of a new name we would love to hear from you. The RCM is represented on each of the taskforces by the four RCM Country Directors and the Head of Education & Learning .

Alongside this work  the NMC have been working on developing  a source document on midwifery regulation which will replace the Midwives Rules and Standards although it will not have statutory force, a draft of this document can be found in the recent Midwifery Committee papers of 26th July 2016

Debates are also on-going within the NMC with regard to the gap that will be left with the removal of the Midwifery Committee. As we have made clear in our response to the consultation, the RCM remains concerned that without statute there will be a lack of midwifery leverage within the NMC.  The NMC argue that they have midwifery high on their agenda – this may be the case now simply because the politics around midwifery require it but once the dust settles and the current Council, CEO and Executive Management Team have all moved on there will be nothing in place within a nursing dominated culture to ensure that the midwifery voice continues to be heard in the future.

All in all we still have a lot of work to do to uphold the vision, values and voice of the midwifery profession in the UK so that women and babies continue to receive high quality midwifery care. 

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