Regulation threatens women’s rights

The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council has been deemed to be acting irresponsibly by denying choice to women and “directly jeopardi[sing] the health and safety of the women it is supposed to safeguard”.

On January 13th 2017, the independent midwifery organisation IMUK shared the news that the professional regulator had issued a decision that the indemnity cover that their members rely on is not appropriate.

“The implication of that decision is that IMUK members may no longer provide the midwifery care that their clients want and are unable to support them through labour and birth.”  (IMUK 2017).

However, IMUK further state that,

“We are confident that the indemnity arrangements that are in place for our members are appropriate and that they comply fully with the requirements of the law.
We have been advised that the decision the NMC has taken is unlawful and some individual members of IMUK are pursuing a legal challenge; their solicitors are awaiting a formal response from the NMC as to whether they will withdraw their decision. We cannot comment further on the proposed legal proceedings at this stage.”

– IMUK (2017). The full IMUK statement can be viewed here.

Many maternity activists and women are sharing their dismay at the situation on social media, and the CEO of the Birthrights charity, Rebecca Schiller, has written to the NMC to express their concerns that the NMC’s actions, “appear designed to cause maximum disruption and damage to independent midwives and the women they care for,” adding that, “we do not believe that these are the actions of a responsible regulator.”

More information can be found in Birthrights’ recent blog post about their response to this issue and the charity also wrote a blog post back in 2013 which offers a useful explanation of the background, context and history of this situation for those who would like to better understand what’s going on.

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