Maternity Services

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to allow NHS bodies to designate people other than midwives as the lead clinical practitioner for women in pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period.

Photo of Ben Gummer Ben Gummer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

There are no such plans. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has recently written to its external partners to provide reassurances about the proposed changes to midwifery supervision regulation and confirmed that there will be:

― No change to the protected title of ‘midwife’. Also the protected function of ‘attendance on a woman in childbirth’ will remain. Other than in an emergency or as part of training, only a midwife or medical practitioner can deliver a baby.

― No change to the scope of midwifery practice, which is much wider than the narrow protected function and is reflected in the standards of competence for registered midwives and their Code.

On 21 April, the Department launched a consultation on the proposed changes to the NMC’s governing legislation to remove midwifery supervision from statute. The proposals do not suggest that midwifery supervision and the education and training to support this role will cease to exist, but that the additional tier of regulation for midwives will be removed resulting in a clear separation of the role and purpose of the supervision and regulation of midwives. The consultation closes on 17 June 2016.

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