Serious concerns with maternity services in Guernsey

30 October 2014

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today published reports on maternity services and the wider environment of maternity care in Guernsey. They raise serious concerns with the quality of supervision of midwives and the practice of midwifery. 

During its review visit, which ran from 1–3 October, the review team found that a number of standards relating to how midwives’ practice was being supervised had not been met. 

The team heard also from several people, including service users and practising midwives, who raised wider issues to do with: 

  • the care environment
  • policies and procedures
  • governance
  • leadership and management
  • organisational culture

The NMC sets standards for midwifery practice and the supervision of midwives and it has the powers to act if it receives reports about an issue which could affect public protection. It has no legislative powers to force improvement in the wider environment of maternity care, but in the absence of a system regulator, it has taken the unprecedented step to raise these issues in order to drive improvements in the interest of public protection in Guernsey.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: 

“When taken together, the two reports we have published raise widespread issues which could undermine public confidence in the safety of maternity services on the Island.

“These reports were commissioned in the interests of public protection and in order to drive urgent improvements in maternity care in Guernsey. 

“We are working with the Local Supervising Authority (LSA) and Guernsey’s Health and Social Services Department (HSSD) to make improvements in order to protect patients and the public.” 

The NMC has been informed that the LSA and Guernsey’s HSSD have put measures since the review visit in order to address some of the immediate concerns raised in the reports. 

The HSSD shared its draft action plan before publication. The LSA shared its draft action plan on 29 October. The NMC is considering the action plans and they will be published in due course.



Notes for editors

1.  The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public. We do this by ensuring that only those who meet our requirements are allowed to practise as a nurse or midwife in the UK. We take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise.

2.   Under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Ordinance 1987, all nurses and midwives practising in Guernsey must be registered with the NMC. The Ordinance also provides for a Designated Officer to exercise ‘general supervision’ of midwives in Guernsey. We understand that the Designated Officer function has been performed by the Local Supervising Authority-South West region (now part of NHS England) operating in accordance with our Midwives Rules and Standards 2012. We have been invited to assess the exercise of this function against the Midwives Rules and Standards.

3.   For media enquiries, please contact Ann Brown at or on 020 7681 5649.