Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘professional indemnity insurance’ Category

On Thursday 20th September women (and men) around the world will be hosting film screenings to raise the profile of midwifery.  I am joining this event because I passionately believe that women are entitled to better maternity care.

Everyone in the UK knows that our maternity services are in crisis and indeed the Royal College of Midwives has strongly stated this.

I am planning to take a break from midwifery as I am totally burnt out … this is partly the demands of being on-call 24/7 for the past 8 years, but it is also due to the increasing scrutiny, red tape  and pressures on midwives.  I believe that most midwives do their very best for women.  Of course there are some rouge practitioners and the public needs to be protected against them, but the pressures on midwives are immense; more paperwork, more investigations of our practice, pressures of working with a system that is barely fit for purpose ….

At the same time Independent Midwifery, which gives “gold standard” care is set to become illegal unless an eleventh hour solution can be found to provide us with Professional Indemnity Insurance which will become mandatory from October 2013.

What will happen to these highly skilled midwives and the clients they currently care for?  I’m afraid that I feel ground down and beaten by all that is currently happening in midwifery … it is so sad, midwifery and childbirth has been my passion and my life for the past 20 years!

So, as my swan song to midwifery (for now at least) I am hosting this film showing in Milton Keynes and I hope this will serve to raise the profile of midwifery and to mobilise women to demand the service they deserve.

FREEDOM FOR BIRTH FILM SCREENING Thursday 20th September 2012 Two showings, 1pm and 7pm

The Bee House

Interchange House

Howard Way

Newport Pagnell

MK16 9PX

  • Entrance by donation – suggested donation £5 (Any profits to be donated to Midwifery Campaign)
  • Refreshments available at the venue
  • Birth related Exhibition and discussion after film showing

ALL WELCOME – please advertise widely! Please print and display the attached poster

For further information & to book a seat please email info@3shiresmidwife.co.uk

FREEDOM FOR BIRTH – GLOBAL FILM LAUNCHA new documentary that reframes childbirth as the most pressing global Human Rights issue today is launching with hundreds of premieres all over the world on the same day, Thursday 20th September 2012.

Freedom For Birth is a 60 minute campaigning documentary featuring a Who’s Who of leading birth experts and international Human Rights lawyers all calling for radical change to the world’s maternity systems.

Hermine Hayes-Klein, US lawyer and organiser of the recent Human Rights in Childbirth Conference at the Hague, the Netherlands says, “the way that childbirth is being managed in many countries around the world is deeply problematic. Millions of pregnant women are pushed into hospitals, pushed onto their back and cut open. They are subject to unnecessary pharmaceutical and surgical interventions that their care providers openly admit to imposing on them for reasons of finance and convenience. Women around the world are waking up to the fact that childbirth doesn’t have to be like this and it shouldn’t. Disrespect and abuse are not the necessary price of safety”.

Made by British filmmakers Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Freedom For Birth film tells the story of an Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb who has been jailed for supporting women giving birth at home. One of the home birth mothers supported by Ms Gereb decided to take a stand.

When pregnant with her second child, Anna Ternovsky took her country to the European Court of Human Rights and won a landmark case that has major implications for childbirth around the world.

Toni Harman, one of the filmmakers says, “the Ternovsky vs Hungary ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 means that now in Europe, every birthing woman has the legal right to decide where and how she gives birth. And across the world, it means that if a woman feels like her Human Rights are being violated because her birth choices are not being fully supported, she could use the power of the law to protect those rights. With the release of “Freedom For Birth”, we hope millions of women become aware of their legal rights and so our film has the potential to spark a revolution in maternity care across the world. In fact, we are calling this the Mothers’ Revolution.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), says: “A safe childbirth should be a fundamental human right for women. Sadly, for many, many millions of women and their babies across the world this is not the case. The world is desperately short of the people who can help to ensure and deliver this human right; midwives. There is a real need for leaders of nations to invest in midwifery care in their countries. I hope that the making of this film which the RCM is supporting with a screening will go a long way to help make skilled maternity care a reality for those women who currently do not have access to it.”

Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives adds, “Too many women across the world are dying or suffering terribly because of a lack of skilled maternity care. This is unacceptable and I call on all Governments across the world to give women the right and access to safe care in pregnancy and childbirth.”

Ms. Hayes-Klein concludes, “Freedom For Birth” holds the answer to changing the system. Birth will change when women realise they have a right to meaningful support for childbirth and claim that right. Birth will change when women stand up against the abuses that are currently suffered in such high numbers and say, No More.”

The filmmakers are aiming for 1,000 screenings happening across the world on Thursday 20th September, 2012. The countries with confirmed screenings include the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Russia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Philippines, China, South Africa and India.

Each screening is being organised by local birth campaigners.

Freedom For Birth is Harman and Wakeford’s third documentary film about birth. They were inspired to make films about following their own difficult birth of their daughter four years ago. A cascade of interventions in their birth led to an emergency caesarean section.

Contact Information:

Toni Harman, Producer/Director, Freedom For Birth info@altofilms.com +44 (0) 1273 747837

Very sadly it looks fairly certain that Independent Midwifery will end in October 2013.  The Government and Nursing and Midwifery Council have for a long time been recommending that Independent Midwives should have professional indemnity insurance (negligence insurance) despite it not being commercially available in the marketplace i.e. insurers do not provide this insurance for midwives.  You can read more about the current situation here http://www.independentmidwives.org.uk/?node=11615

An E.U. Directive is now due to come into force to implement this change and our current information is that it will be illegal for us to practice without professional indemnity insurance from October 2013.  This means that women will be denied the choice of choosing an Independent Midwife and we will be denied the choice of working independently and will be forced to stop practising or to return into the NHS.

The Independent Midwives UK organisation has been working tirelessly for years to find a solution and it is just possible that an eleventh hour solution will be found but this is now looking unlikely.

A group of midwives have formed an organisation called Neighbourhood Midwives www.neighbourhoodmidwives.org.uk/ and are working towards setting up an employee-owned social enterprise organization, to provide an NHS commissioned caseload midwifery homebirth service, based in the local community.  This may prove to be a workable alternative to Independent Midwifery but at present (if it comes to fruition) the service will only be able to accept “low-risk” women and this is of concern to all of us who have supported women with more complex situations, for example first time mothers, vaginal birth after a previous caesarean, twins, breech birth and women who are not deemed “low risk”.  The aim of Neighbourhood Midwives will be to extend their remit to include more women as soon as possible.

There is already a precedent for this type of care as One to One Midwives in Liverpool www.onetoonemidwives.org have already managed to set up a caseloading midwifery service (similar to independent midwifery in that a woman will care for a caseload of women throughout the whole of the pregnancy, birth and postnatal period) within the NHS.

It is a very sad time for midwifery and for women’s choice, but perhaps good things will come out of it, I certainly hope so.

It is crunch time and we really need your help if independent midwives are going to be able to practise in the UK in future. If you recognise the value of personalised, high quality midwifery care throughout pregnancy, birth and after the baby is born that an independent midwife is able to provide, then please could you let the government know NOW.

For several years the government’s new policy that all healthcare professionals have indemnity insurance has been put on hold. Last year the government commissioned the Finlay Scott Review to look at the feasibility of indemnity insurance as a condition of every healthcare professional’s registration. The Review has now been published and recommends that indemnity/insurance should become mandatory and a requirement for registration. However it also recommended for those groups for whom the market does not provide affordable insurance or indemnity (independent midwives), the relevant Departments of Health in the four countries of the UK should decide if the continued availability of this service is necessary; and, if so, should seek to facilitate a solution to the problem. (See more information in the letter below)

The Departments of Health are due to respond imminently to this Review – and their responses will be a perfect vehicle through which to address this anomaly with solutions from policy-makers.

Can you please send an email to your MP and copy it to your relevant Department of Health. Could you also print your letter and send it as a hard copy to your MP and Department of Health as although slower, receiving lots of letters is more effective. Please feel free to use any information on this page, and/or include your own feelings and experiences.

Find your MP by clicking on: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ and click on his/her website to find their email and constituency postal address. Don’t use the House of Commons address for MP’s at this time of year as it is in summer recess.

Departments of Health:

England:
Mike.Lewis@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Mike Lewis
Senior Policy Manager
Professional Standards Division
Department of Health
2N10 Quarry House
Quarry Hill
Leeds.
LS2 7UE

Scotland:
Catherine.clark@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Catherine Clarke
Regulating Unit
Chief Nursing Office
St. Andrew’s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Nicola Sturgeon
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Wales:
correspondence.edwina.hart@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Edwina Hart
Minister for Health and Social Services
Welsh Assembly Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ

Northern Ireland:
private.office@dhsspsni.gov.uk
Michael McGimpsey
Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Room C5.10
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast
BT4 3SQ

Please inform as many other friends, family and supporters such as local NCT groups, Women’s Institute, etc as possible.

Without positive government intervention independent midwifery will become illegal in the very near future. If a solution is provided, it could benefit maternity services in the UK for decades to come.

Thank you for your support!

Sample letter

Dear MP

RE: Finlay Scott Review

I’m writing to ask for your help in giving thousands of families greater opportunity to have safe positive pregnancies and births with support into early parenting.

The Government recently heard from the Finlay Scott Review, which had been asked, to look at indemnity insurance as a condition of professional registration. The Review recommended that the Government should make indemnity / insurance a requirement of every healthcare professional’s registration. However it also recommended for those groups for whom the market does not provide affordable insurance or indemnity (independent midwives), it should decide if the continued availability of those services is necessary; and, if so, should seek to facilitate a solution to the problem.

There are currently approximately 100 independent midwives in the UK, providing high quality, one-to-one care to families throughout pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. It is this kind of genuinely personalised care, from their own midwife, that growing numbers of women want. It has significant public health benefits in terms of increased normal birth and breastfeeding rates and saves money.

Taking on independent status is also something which offers great advantages to midwives themselves, empowering them as frontline workers, to work closely with women and with more flexibility in their working lives – crucial if the drain of midwives from the profession is to be reversed.

The barrier to independent midwives providing this service is that they cannot be indemnified or insured. This is due to the number of independent midwives currently being too small to enable the risk to be pooled and spread in a way that produces an affordable premium. There is simply no insurance available for independent midwifery services. This is standing in the way of more pregnant women benefiting from this type of care and enabling more midwives to work this way.

In 2013, independent midwifery will be made illegal under EU law if a solution is not found. EU legislation by then will require all health professionals to have indemnity/ insurance.

The benefits of finding a mechanism to indemnify or insure independent midwives will be:
• independent midwives will be able to provide care within the NHS with improved public health outcomes, reduction in costs and increased choice for women;
• women’s choice will be maintained;
• the risk reduced of some women choosing to give birth unaided if unable to access care that is acceptable to them within the NHS;
• midwifery expertise in normal birth skills will not be lost;
• more midwives staying in the profession.

The government is due to respond imminently to the Findlay Scott Review. The Review recognises that a potential problem arises from its recommendations but also acknowledges that the government could intervene to provide an affordable solution.

Please support my request to recognise the importance of this service for the safety and wellbeing of mothers, babies and families by calling for the indemnity/insurance issue to be resolved by the Department of Health.

Regards

Thank you so much for your support!

Valerie Gommon

Independent Midwife

www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk


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