04 / 6 / 2014 2.02pm
In 2013, the parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) in England investigated three cases arising from failures in maternity care at Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The reports were published in December 2013 along with a a report titled Midwifery supervision and regulation: recommendations for change.
The report recommended two principles for the future model of midwifery regulation:
- That midwifery supervision and regulation should be separated.
- That the NMC should be in direct control of regulatory activity.
The Professional Standards Authority contributed its perspective and added its concerns:
- Lack of evidence to suggest that the risks posed by contemporary midwifery require an additional tier of regulation - bringing into question proportionality.
- That the imposition of regulatory sanctions or prohibitions by one midwife on another without lay scrutiny is counter to notions about good regulation in the post-Shipman era.
The NMC Council met in January 2014 and accepted the Ombudsman's finding that midwifery regulation was structurally flawed as a framework for public protection. It considered the Ombudsman's report and approved an immediate review of midwifery regulation.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has commissioned The King’s Fund to carry out an independent review into the regulation of midwives. You can read more about this and view the terms of reference on the NMC's website.