Sometimes, even if you're very passionate about midwifery, you can get behind on what's happening.
Whether it's elderly relatives doing unexpected and interesting things, exams, or kids with chicken pox, you can fall behind on the news.
But knowledge is power, especially as there are such interesting and formative changes going on. I've put together a quick post on what I think are the most important issues are.
1. It’s happened, midwifery supervision is no longer part of the law
Supervisors of Midwives (SoMs) are not a legal requirement anymore.
SoMs were there to advocate for women, support midwives and identify safety concerns.
This change is because when issues with poor quality care were identified, The Nursing and Midwifery Council felt that SoMs had a conflict in their role: they were both supporting and regulating midwives.
In England, a new support system called A-EQUIP has been piloted and is being rolled out. To replace SoMs there are now ‘Professional Midwifery Advocates’ (PMAs).
In Northern Ireland and Scotland there are other arrangements.
The idea is to separate regulation (the ‘policing’ of midwives) and supervision (the support and assistance and advocacy role). The Nursing and Midwifery Council will now be in charge of the regulation bit.
This change in the law also means the midwifery committee which used to inform the Nursing and Midwifery Council about midwifery matters is now gone.
It’s has been replaced with a midwifery panel, and though this is a good thing overall, there is only a midwife available to advise the NMC one day a week.
2. The Independent Midwives Crisis Is Ongoing
You may have been following the independent midwives crisis. Independent midwives can't practice during labour and birth care right now because of an issue with their insurance.
You can read more here, essentially the Nursing and Midwifery Council have said there's an issue with independent midwives' insurance but won't say what or how to fix it.
There are some huge challenges for independent midwives around this, not least the legal fees for their fight, see crowdfunding campaign here (which is trending!!).
3. Many are talking about making a new midwifery regulatory body
The Nursing and Midwifery Council have to concentrate on far more nurses than midwives and therefore sometimes miss some of the finer points of the midwifery model of care.
This isn’t just my opinion.
Jackie Smith, Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council did a radio interview recently where it was clear she didn’t understand the difference between a private midwife and an independent midwife.
(Private midwives are employed by private healthcare providers, independent midwives work for themselves, an important difference when it comes to supporting women’s choices).
There's a brilliant blog on how this new regulatory body might be set up. The blog is over at 'Born Stroppy', here: The Big Hairy Audacious Goal: New Midwifery Regulation
I know the Royal College of Midwives are not behind this move mainly because it might be expensive for midwives. Midwives need to pay for registration already and a small body would have fewer members to raise the needed funds.
But New Zealand, which is a country with far fewer people and less money has a Midwifery Council, rather than a Nursing and Midwifery Council...food for thought!
So these are my current midwifery facts!
I know it can be scary when there are such big changes going on in your profession. I suppose if these last few years have taught us anything, it's that change is constant. Things will always be moving on, this is to be expected.
But we do have control over how we act, what we put our energy into and what we'd like to build. Could a new midwifery council be the legacy of current midwives and activists? Let me know what you think in the comments, anonymously or nonymously (is that a word?!)
I’d also be especially interested to hear if A-EQUIP and PAMS have been rolled out in your trust and what your thoughts are so far.