Department of Health releases consultation on NMC

Last week the Department of Health (DH) released its consultation on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)  – amendments to modernise midwifery regulation and improve the effectiveness and efficient of fitness to practise processes.

The proposals on the amendments to midwifery regulation are as we have identified in our series of blogs over the last few months so no surprises there. What is unusual within this consultation is that the DH attempts to provide reassurance that we don’t need to worry about the removal of the statutory supervision of midwives, the midwives rules and the statutory Midwifery Committee as the NMC and other organisations have put in place provisions to ensure that nothing is lost – so that’s OK then and we can go ahead and agree to the proposals?  The RCM considers that this attempt to reassure midwives and others that all is well and there is nothing to worry about is misleading.

Let’s just clarify and look at the facts:

The consultation makes it sound as though the replacement for Statutory Supervision of Midwives i.e. clinical supervision is guaranteed. The reality is that this is not the case and the DH and the NMC should not imply that it is. As you all know the NMC has no power once the system moves out of statute.  Although at a government and policy level a new system of midwifery supervision is being backed,  at the moment it will be up to employers whether the scheme is introduced or not. Clearly all the key organisations involved with the work to develop a new system of supervision for midwives will have to work hard at building a requirement for such a system into commissioning processes and into system regulatory and governance processes in order to make this happen. We are a long way from implementation and yes we need to remain optimistic, however members need to respond to the consultation knowing that there are no guarantees.

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