Following concerns expressed to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and their subsequent recommendations, the Government has now agreed that there must be change to the way that midwives are supervised and regulated.
The position for over a hundred years has been that senior midwives perform both supervisory and regulatory functions on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. However, this means that when things go wrong, there have been instances where the investigative process is not sufficiently at arm’s length to ensure impartiality or that lessons will be learned from any shortcomings.
To ensure that there is robust investigation in the future, the changes will involve lay people in decision making. This is with a view to better identification of poor treatment and to avoid any conflict of interest between those delivering the supervisory and regulatory functions.
This change has come about through the efforts of families, who having received an unsatisfactory response initially, from the supervisors of midwives involved in care, took their cases further and involved the Ombudsman. This dogged approach will be of benefit to families in the future who may benefit from a new system which should improve maternity services and care for mothers and babies.
If you or your family have been affected by the issues set out in this article please contact a member of our Clinical Negligence team on 0800 316 8892.