Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery
Wier, J. 2015. Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery.
Pregnancy and childbirth has long held a place at the centre of communities globally and as a result, the provision of care to the pregnant woman has been a source of interest and fascination to governments and society alike. The United Kingdom is no exception. At the start of the twentieth century with the enactment of the Midwives Registration Act in 1902, the work of the midwife for the first time became regulated by this early piece of legislation. As the 20th century progressed the regulatory and legal frameworks that governed midwifery also developed, such that the current practice of midwifery and the provision of maternity care is now influenced by a myriad of regulation. Despite these controls there is little empirical data, particularly in relation to the practice of midwives, which demonstrates the effectiveness of these systems and strategies. Whilst it is true that maternal mortality and stillbirth rates have never been lower (Knight el al, 2014), patient safety incidents (NHS England, 2014), and claims of clinical negligence in obstetrics have continued to climb over the past thirty years (NHSLA, 2014). This raises the question of whether the current statutory aim of ‘protecting the public’ is being realised, and whether the regulatory mechanisms which were devised to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public who access the maternity services, undermine or promote quality care. The aim of this study therefore is to explore the perceptions and experiences of governance and regulation in the clinical setting amongst a sample of midwifery practitioners.
|Conference||RCM Legal Birth Conference|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||05 Oct 2016|
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