Independent Midwives

How was your birthing experience?  Did you have the same community midwife for all of your check ups?  Or did you choose to use an Independent midwife?


Independent midwives (IMs) are registered and regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and practice outside the NHS .  They provide continuity of care during pregnancy, birth and post-natal, and attend births at home as well as support women in hospital births.  IMs often assist women who have had poor experiences of care in previous and are an incredibly valuable repository of skills that are fast disappearing in mainstream maternity care, such as vaginal delivery of breech babies and twins.  Thousands of women turn to them every year seeking to prioritise birth at home, avoid induction or caesarean sections and for the continuous support they can provide in hospital which is unavailable within the NHS system.

Independent midwives UK grows increasingly concerned that without financial assistance from the Government which will allow the continuance of self-employed midwifery within the UK after February 2014, options for both midwives and birthing women will be further compromised. Currently, independent midwifery saves the NHS £13m annually and relieves pressure by caring for women outside of the system.

IMUK Chair Jacqui Tomkins said “Maternity units are closing because they do not have enough midwives to deliver care safely. This reduces or removes choice for women at a time of unprecedented demand.  If self-employed midwives are not supported either, our concern is that optimum care will not only be unavailable within the NHS but outside of it too.   There will be fewer options and positions for midwives at a time when, despite the NHS shortage, 20% of newly qualified midwives will not secure a job within the NHS.   Ensuring choice was a pledge by the Government yet we appear to have less of it than ever within a maternity setting.  We urgently appeal to the Government to prioritise maternity care in the U.K and recognise independent midwifery as a part of the solution.”

Independent midwives UK expect to hear from the Department of Health this month as to whether or not self-employed midwives will be supported by them to continue to practice after implementation of an EU Directive in February 2014 which requires them to have launched a Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme for all members.

Are you a midwife?  How did your midwife add to your birthing experience?  We would love to hear your views…

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