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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 14-Feb-19 09:32:35

Guest post: “It will be a unique opportunity to shape the future of midwifery”

The Nursing and Midwifery Council are launching a national consultation which will run from 12 February – 9 May looking at the skills that trainee midwives need to have before they can qualify and practise.

Professor Mary Renfrew

Posted on: Thu 14-Feb-19 09:32:35

(25 comments )

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“Today’s student midwives are the future scholars and leaders of the profession, and key advocates for women and babies.”

More than 2000 women become pregnant every day. They will be cared for throughout their childbearing journey by the more than 40,000 midwives working in the UK. Midwives will be there for each woman, and her baby and her family, from pregnancy through birth and beyond, whatever her circumstances.

Many developments are affecting women, babies, families, and the health service. New evidence is informing the delivery of care, the health needs of the population are changing, and recent policy developments are setting new directions of travel for maternity care in all four UK countries.

We need to make sure that the education of student midwives keeps pace with these changes, so that all midwives have the skills and knowledge they need when they join the profession.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has now launched its future midwife consultation on the draft new standards that the next generation of midwives will need to meet when they qualify.

These standards, when finalised, will replace the current set that were introduced in 2009. They will raise the bar in terms of what the midwives of the future need to know at the point of registration, enabling them to provide the best and safest care.

We’ve worked in partnership with midwives, mothers, families, educators, other healthcare professionals, representative organisations, advocacy groups and many others in drafting the new standards. In all, we have worked directly with over 600 people so far.

We need to make sure that the education of student midwives keeps pace with these changes, so that all midwives have the skills and knowledge they need.


The draft standards are based on the best current evidence, so all the latest developments are all included.

They have a core focus on the needs of women and babies and on the views and preferences of women and families, recognising the key role of the midwife in meeting those needs and in advocating for women.

Some topics have a greater priority than in the past. For example, public health and health promotion is included in more detail. There is a greater focus on mental health – the first time that this crucial area for women, newborn infants, partners, and families has been prioritised in this way.

The draft standards emphasise the need for women to receive continuity of care, so that whenever possible, the same midwife will provide care throughout pregnancy, birth, and after birth.

They also focus on the key role that midwives play as members of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, so women, babies, and families will receive the right care at the right time from the right people, whatever their circumstances. This will include working with social care as well as other health care professionals.

We want the new standards to help promote trust, confidence and professionalism in midwifery for the next generation. Today’s student midwives are the future scholars and leaders of the profession, and key advocates for women and babies.

But our draft standards are not the finished article. That’s why we want to hear from everyone who cares about great midwifery care. We’ll be holding a programme of events across the UK as well as webinars and Twitter chats so everyone will have the chance to get involved and have their say.

And remember, anyone can take part. You can respond as an organisation or in an individual capacity – or both.

After the public consultation, we’ll consider all the responses and comments and refine the standards further, before the final version goes to the NMC’s Council for approval.

The final standards will then be published in January 2020, with the first student midwives studying programmes governed by them in September 2020.

Our consultation will be a unique opportunity to shape the future of midwifery, and we hope that as many people and organisations as possible will take part – so please sign up to a consultation event, a webinar or a Twitter chat and get involved.

Professor Mary Renfrew will be returning to this guest post at 2pm on 18/02/2019 to answer any questions you may have.

By Professor Mary Renfrew

Twitter: @maryrenfrew

vivariumvivariumsvivaria Mon 18-Feb-19 22:51:56

thanks for doing this.

I wish midwives had fewer complaints and more recognition.

I had two difficult births and one decidedly ropey one. And two good midwives and one who was clearly a bit worn out.

Very grateful for them all. Wish they had time to pee and reflect on the difficulties of the job as a team.

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