Midwives: Insurance

Department of Health written question – answered on 2nd March 2017.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Shadow Minister (Housing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to ensure that independent midwives can access affordable indemnity cover; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

It has been a legal requirement since 2014 for all healthcare professionals, including midwives, to have adequate indemnity arrangements in place. This requirement ensures that there is redress available for women and families should anything happen to them or their babies during childbirth. Individual professionals are responsible for ensuring that adequate indemnity insurance arrangements are in place.

The Government supports choice in maternity services, but this has to be a safe choice. It is therefore appropriate that registered midwives are required to have adequate indemnity insurance to cover their scope of practice.

Whether or not a midwife’s indemnity cover is appropriate is a decision for the Nursing and Midwifery Council as the independent regulatory body responsible for the regulation of midwives in the United Kingdom.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No414 people think not

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Annabel Burr
Posted on 3 Mar 2017 10:22 am (Report this annotation)

Mr Dunne you have not answered Rt Hon Ruth Cadbury's question. Independent Midwives have been assured by 2 independent medico legal insurance experts that their indemnity is adequate. The NMC have repeated time and time again that it is not for them to assess adequacy and indeed they have publicly stated that they have not assessed Lucina's indemnity "because this would be a complex and too time consuming matter'. If it has not been assessed and it is not the role of the NMC to do this (they state it is the role of the Registrant and their insurer). By threatening to remove Independent Midwives from the Register if they care for women in labour the NMC have created a very UNSAFE situation. We have women who have had their choice taken away and are giving birth without any midwifery help. This is not safe. Ruth Cadbury has asked what steps you are taking to ensure that independent midwives can access affordable indemnity cover. Please can you answer this question.

Adrian Corcoran
Posted on 3 Mar 2017 11:51 am (Report this annotation)

The NMC have failed to deem what 'adequate' insurance is whilst pulling the insurance coverage out from underneath midwives on the December over 1,000+ women who were using them for birth care and support (the NMC will say they gave notice in August, but this was only a consultation). This left 80+ midiwives and their clients less than 3 weeks over the Christmas period to find alternative care at a time when the NHS will have most people on holiday. The NMC will now not say what is 'adequate' insurance and the actuary evaluating the issue for the NMC deemed the insurance to be 'too complex' to make a judgment on whether it was inadequate or not. The NMC then made a unilateral decision and has breached human rights; many of the women in the 1,000+ figure impacted were 40 weeks pregnant and left without their choice of care for their pregnancy. The NMC is now pandering and will not work on addressing what 'adequate is' saying it's up to the IMUK to determine this; however they are fit to deem what is inadequate? It's one or the other, not both. Additionally all of this issue has arisen because UK Birth Centres made a complaint about the IMUK's insurance; as a private limited company this is a massive conflict of interest for the NMC who are to be protecting the public. They are not independent an are not following proper protocols. Please do your research before you spout further untruths re: situation.

Dominique Mylod
Posted on 3 Mar 2017 12:40 pm (Report this annotation)

Mr. Dunne has not responded to the Right Honourable Ruth Cadbury's question, but has resorted to a stick and paste from the Nursing and Midwifery Council's website. The NMC's cavalier ban on the provision of intrapartum care by MIUK is ill-informed and advised. The addition of a ban on caring for sisters, cousins, friends, daughters is ludicrous - does this mean that women will have to move house if they are health care professionals so that they are not cared for by colleagues or any one that they know?

Jackie Smith as CEO of the NMC needs to demonstrate her understanding of accountability by answering the simple question: if IMUK indemnity is insufficient, how much IS enough? If she is not in a position to answer her own question and to justify her actions, she should tender her resignation with immediate effect.

Joanne Feaster
Posted on 3 Mar 2017 8:10 pm (Report this annotation)

The answer provided does not answer the question posed. A 'safe choice' is not guaranteed by having indemnity cover should professional negligence occur, it is merely legal redress and compensation should your midwife do something negligent that causes you or your child harm. It is also a frustratingly circular argument to say that 'adequate' insurance should be provided but then neither the Department for Health nor the NMC are able to quantify what is adequate. How can the NMC have deemed the insurance provided by IMUK inadequate if it is 'too complex' for them to work out what might be adequate? For such a decision to be taken without such clarity seems premature and not fully considered.

Eleanor Garlick
Posted on 5 Mar 2017 7:54 pm (Report this annotation)

Philip Dunne has not answered the question. We have all seen the information released by the NMC and repeating it does not add to the debate when it is the process by which they came to the decision that is being questioned. Removing the ability of a woman to have her chosen qualified registered midwife with her during labour and birth is a violation of her human rights. I am looking forward to hearing an answer about how the government will support independent midwives and therefore the rights of all women. It would be especially appropriate for the government to demonstrate their support as we approach International Women's Day.