Allow Women Their Rights During Labour (Independent Midwives' Crisis)

Currently, Independent Midwives are unable to attend clients in labour.

This means women who have carefully chosen an Independent Midwife for complex, personal reasons are being denied the right to have their chosen caregiver present during childbirth.

This is due to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specifying indemnity insurance is not adequate (something not identified until a few days ago).

Independent midwives are not allowed to attend the women having NHS care during labour and birth.

The rights of women to choose who is with them in labour has been taken away.

However, the NMC are unable to specify what level of cover is adequate:

'"We (the NMC) are unable to advise you about the level of cover that you need. We consider that you are in the best position to determine, with your indemnity provider, what level of cover is appropriate for your practice. You should seek advice as appropriate from your professional body, trade union or insurer to inform your decision. You need to be able to demonstrate that you fully disclosed your scope of practice and to justify your decisions
if asked to do so". '

We urge the NMC to reconsider their judgement or specify what needs to be done to ensure women can choose their caregiver. We understand the NMC has the wellbeing of women and babies at the forefront of their decisions but respectfully ask if this decision is in line with this.

Further information: As Independent Midwives are often women’s only option to make choices for their care (as the NHS cannot always accommodate needs such as homebirth), and many choose them due to birth trauma or other complex and distressing situations, we see this as a human rights issue.

If you listen to women reacting to this news many are talking about freebirth instead of accessing NHS care as they feel their mental and physical wellbeing being adversely affected by not having their choice of caregiver when under NHS care is not something they can risk.

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