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You can now sign the Downing Street petition!


The future of midwifery under threat


Next year the government is going to bring in new legislation which will make professional indemnity insurance compulsory for all health professionals, including midwives. While this sounds, on the surface, perfectly reasonable, there simply is no insurance available for independent midwives – and the government knows this.


This will mean the death of independent midwifery in the UK.


Independent midwifery services go back to the beginning of humankind and have always been available to women. Women choose a midwife and contract with her directly for her services, knowing that she will be there to care for them during labour and birth.


If independent midwifery services are allowed to die, all that will be available to women, (and the only job prospects for midwives), is the maternity service provided by the NHS; a service that is currently struggling to provide good maternity care.


Why would midwives choose to work independently and women choose to pay for something they can get free? Why are 200 independent midwives so important? Who cares what happens to them?


Independent midwives have clinical freedom and can develop their knowledge and skills this way; most importantly, they cannot be easily controlled as they are self-employed. Women can choose a known midwife who will be at their birth. Most independent midwives will support women to birth their babies however they want and are passionate advocates of women’s informed choice; waterbirth, twins, breeches, HBACs and so on. But it is the intimacy of the one-to-one care that is offered by independent midwives that women and midwives value so highly. The principle of women’s free choice to birth their babies how they choose, supported and guided by midwives is the mainstay of independent midwifery philosophy.


If this legislation goes through, what will this mean?



The Independent Midwives’ Association is leading a campaign to stop this legislation, unless a source of affordable insurance can be found.


You will be able to read further about these issues in the documents in this website.




Women's Hour, BBC Radio 4 6 Mar 2007 - Jenni Murray discusses the issue with Annie Francis and Christine Beasley