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Hunt announces changes to regulation of midwives

Statutory regulation and professional supervision will be separate as they are for other health professionals

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 17 July 2015

There is to be a new system for regulating midwives, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced, which will introduce a similar system as for other health professionals where statutory regulation and professional supervision are separated. 

The changes were announced as the Health Secretary published the government’s Learning not Blaming, its full response to the Freedom to Speak Up review, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) report on investigating clinical incidents in the NHS, and the Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust Investigation. The investigation was set up in response to a series of maternal and neonatal deaths at the trust between January 2004 and June 2013.

The Learning not Blaming report says that the statutory supervision of midwives was designed at the start of the last century and no longer met current needs.

To ensure everyone in the NHS feels confident and supported to raise concerns Mr Hunt committed to a number of measures from the Freedom to Speak Up review including a national ‘whistleblowing’ lead to be located in the Care Quality Commission, ‘Freedom to Speak up Guardians’ to be appointed in all local NHS organisations, and whistleblowing training for all healthcare workers.

He also accepted the PASC report recommendations, which includes setting up a new independent NHS patient safety investigation service to begin in April 2016.

Hunt said: “Modelled on the air accident investigation branch used by the airline industry, this will be central to the ‘no blame’ learning culture which has led to dramatic safety improvements in aviation – and it will do the same for healthcare.

“PASC, which scrutinises the work of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), conducted this review due to increasing concern that some of the PHSO adjudications have not been based on reliable evidence.”

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