Royal College of Midwives ‘extremely disappointed’ by lack of DH response to midwifery regulation plans

RCM has attacked the government for failing to publish the response to its summer consultation on changes to regulation.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has criticised the government for failing to publish the response to its summer consultation on changes to regulation.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick. Picture: John Behets

Writing in her blog RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said her organisation participated in the consultation in June and was ‘extremely disappointed’ at the Department of Health (DH) for the delay.

Midwifery supervision

The consultation was launched in response to a request from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) back in January, which outlined proposed changes to midwifery supervision in the UK.

These changes involve removing section 60 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (NMO), which covers this area of midwifery supervision.

The NMC wants to remove the tier of regulation relating specifically to midwifery because it feels the role is amply covered by the remainder of its NMO and the NMC Code.

The regulator insisted the proposed changes would not affect:

  • Separate registration of midwives.
  • Direct entry to the register as a midwife.
  • Protected title of a midwife.
  • Protected function of attendance on a woman in childbirth or separate competencies and pre-registration education standards for midwives.

Ms Warwick said the planned changes has already been signed off by a minister in the DH and would be published at the same time it was presented to Parliament.

Uncertain dates

She wrote: ‘However, it is uncertain when this will happen and, therefore, when the subsequent debates will take place before the regulatory changes can be enacted by the proposed date of 31 March.

The NMC also wishes to abolish its midwifery committee, which the RCM opposes because it fears losing ‘the voice of midwifery in a nursing-dominated council’

Ms Warwick added the RCM ‘had been clear from the outset that it does not support the proposal’ and dismissed the arguments in favour of its dissolution as ‘weak’.

Continuing efforts

She concluded: ‘We will continue to lobby to delay the removal of the statutory midwifery committee until such time as the overarching regulation of the professions is reviewed, as well as a separate register for midwives is established within the NMC or, possibly, another professional regulator.’

Responding to the blog, a DH spokesperson said: ‘We’ll respond to the consultation in due course.’

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