The Independent Midwives Association (IMA) has reported that the Government is intending to pass legislation to make professional indemnity insurance (PII) a prerequisite for registration. However, there is actually no PII available to independent midwives. This ultimately means they will no longer be able to register and will be committing a criminal offence if they continue to practice independently. The IMA is therefore pushing the Government to ensure that affordable, appropriate and adequate indemnity cover is made available to all midwives, regardless of their area of work.
In the light of the recent Panorama programme that drew attention to the appalling circumstances resulting from maternity cuts and staff shortages, this seems to threaten yet another blow to a woman’s right to make active choices with regard to how she is assisted during pregnancy and childbirth. A possible way round the PII dilemma (and, I imagine, the wider problems impacting on women’s experiences of pregnancy and childbirth) is advocated by the One Mother, One Midwife campaign. This would involve the government implementing the IMA’s proposed NHS Community Midwifery Model. The details of this model are as follows:
The Pregnant woman will be given a list of midwives from which to choose
The woman will contact the midwives and choose the one with whom she feels most comfortable
The midwife will enter into a standard NHS contract with a set fee per woman
The midwife and the woman will have full access to NHS facilities
The woman will choose the place and type of birth which most meets her needs.
This would amount to an “equal partnership based on trust” that “enhances women’s satisfaction, offers continuity of care, offers midwives a different way of working and increases recruitment and retention of midwives.”
There will be an awareness raising event, focussed on this issue, taking place in Leeds Central Square on Tuesday 22nd May from 11.00 – 3.00 pm. There will be stalls, banners, art work, info, leaflets, posters, a birthing pool/ball, dolls pelvis, belly casts and more. Further information is available at the IMA and One Mother, One Midwife websites.