What Legislative Change Means in Practice

The LSA, along with the role, of the LSA Midwifery Officer (LSAMO) and the statutory requirements of Supervisors of Midwives (SoM) ceased to exist from 31 March 2017.

Removal of this additional layer of regulation means that while the NMC regulates midwives, governance of midwifery practice at local level will rest exclusively with employers; including investigation of alleged misconduct or impaired fitness to practise and referral to the NMC where required.

These legislative changes do not mean an end to supervision, only to its statutory components. The developmental and supportive nature of supervision is important to the profession and for outcomes to women and babies. This culture of developmental and supportive supervision should be preserved and will provide a source of evidence for a midwife compiling their portfolio for revalidation and for review by the confirmer (DH 2016). The NMC has published Practising as a midwife in the UK: An overview of midwifery regulation  that collates information useful to midwives.

In light of the imminent removal of Supervision of Midwives from statute and recognising its acknowledged, positive aspects, the Chief Nursing Officers in the UK were tasked with developing a new model for midwifery supervision in readiness for the legislative changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001. This work was completed in NI and in June 2016 the CNO informed the Central Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee (CNMAC) that she has additionally commissioned NIPEC to establish an overarching Programme Board to address a singe Nursing, Midwifery and Safeguarding (Children) Supervision Framework for Northern Ireland.

Whilst this work is on-going, Midwifery (as well as Nursing and Safeguarding) supervision will continue in Northern Ireland.