Government responds to consultation on midwifery regulation
We wrote to you last year to let you know that the Government was consulting on changes to our legislation to allow us to modernise the way we regulate midwives.
The main effect of the changes will be taking supervision out of our regulatory legislation. We asked for this change after a number of independent reports confirmed the current arrangements are not appropriate for public protection.
We want to let you know that the Government has now published its response to the consultation.
While the Government acknowledges the concerns raised by midwives in relation to these changes, it also sets out clearly why it believes they are important. The response signals the Government will recommend these changes to parliament.
Although these changes mean that supervision will no longer be linked to regulation, this does not mean that it will not exist at all. Plans for a new model of supervision are now well advanced in each of the four countries of the UK. We are confident that the things about supervision most valued by midwives will continue in the future.
It’s important to remember that these changes do not alter the status of midwifery as a distinct profession with its own standards. There will be no change to the protected title of midwife, and delivering a baby remains a protected function for a midwife or a medical practitioner.
We will continue to ensure midwifery has a strong voice within the NMC once the statutory requirement to have a midwifery committee is removed.
The changes to our legislation do not only affect midwifery regulation. The Government has also confirmed its intention to make some important changes to our fitness to practise processes. These changes will allow for a more proportionate approach to cases, with new powers to resolve some less contentious matters more simply and quickly, taking only the most serious cases to a full hearing.
What happens next?
Parliament will debate the changes in spring 2017 and if approved, they are set to come into force shortly after. Until the law changes, what is required of midwives remains the same and this is set out in the Midwives Rules and Standards and the Code.
We will be in touch again shortly to update you on these changes and what they mean for you. In the meantime you can visit our website for more information and background.
Chief Executive and Registrar
The Nursing and Midwifery Council