‘My Future, My Midwife’: NMC launches its new Future Midwifery Standards in Belfast

15 January 2020

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is launching its new Future Midwifery Standards, which will set out what the next generation of midwives will know and learn, in Belfast today.

As the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife kicks off, the celebratory event, held at Queen’s University, is the culmination of two years of work engaging with women, midwives, student midwives and other health professionals to transform midwifery care for everyone.

The standards set an evidence-based benchmark for the profession, creating a foundation for midwives of the future to receive a first-class education and reflect the transforming health and care world in which midwives work.

They place an increased focus on continuity of care and the importance of midwives being a constant presence throughout a woman’s pregnancy, labour and beyond, ensuring their needs and preferences are met.

They also highlight the importance of ensuring midwives have the right knowledge and skills to identify the individual mental health needs of women as early as possible, as well as the importance of working in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams to provide evidence-based, compassionate and appropriate person-centred care.

Speakers at the special NMC ‘My Future, My Midwife’ event include Fran McConville, Midwifery Advisor at the World Health Organisation, and Dale Spence, Midwifery Officer who is representing the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

Also telling her story is Mary-Kate White, a mum who experienced complications when giving birth to her second child, a son, Daithi, now nine months.

Her midwife, Aisling, was a constant presence throughout her six day hospital stay, ensuring her needs, preferences and decisions were met.

Mary-Kate said:

“Aisling was my saving grace and I owe her my life. During labour I began vomiting and despite my best efforts to push, nothing happened.

“Aisling reacted quickly by alerting members of her multidisciplinary team and the obstetrician.

“They took me to theatre where I had an emergency caesarean and Daithi was born healthy.

“I was freezing and couldn’t stop shaking. I got sleepier and sleepier and it became apparent I needed a blood transfusion. Aisling was with me the whole way through.

“After going into septic shock, a few days later I began experiencing stomach pains. It was Aisling who escalated this, and I was diagnosed with fluid on my pelvis which also affected my bowel.

“I was treated with intravenous fluids and six days later when I wanted to go home, Aisling was there to coordinate my care. With her help, I was home by lunchtime.”

Commenting on the care she gave Mary-Kate, Aisling said:

“The focus on continuity of care in the new standards provide a woman with the reassurance she needs that she’s in safe hands, her midwife will be with her throughout, and she can ask whatever questions she needs to.

“In Mary-Kate’s case, I worked with a multi-disciplinary team to make sure she had the best possible care. She knew me and knew I wouldn’t leave her.

“I continued to look after her and provide her with more care, even when she was moved to a different ward, and was able to coordinate her discharge home.”

Verena Wallace, Senior Midwifery Advisor at the NMC, said:

“Mary-Kate’s story is a reminder of how important it is that midwives have the right knowledge and skills in order to provide safe, kind and effective care.

“The new standards will ensure women who experience complications during labour and need additional care can rely on their midwife for support and care.

“This is a good example of how continuity of care was a positive part of Mary-Kate and Daithi’s maternity journey with Aisling, her midwife, at her side.”

Also attending today, Professor Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Oficer for Northern Ireland, said:

“I welcome the launch of New Future Midwife Standards, as we embark on a new decade with a new Government this is undoubtedly an exciting time for midwifery in Northern Ireland. We have the opportunity to make a lasting and positive difference to the lives of women, babies and families. 

Regionally we have much to be proud of and celebrate both past and present and I look forward to the successful implementation of the Future Midwife Standards here.”

Karen Murray, Director for Northern Ireland at the Royal College of Midwives, said:

“These standards will ensure that our midwives are trained and equipped to offer women like Mary-Kate the best possible care. Mary-Kate’s experience highlights the critical part that continuity of carer can play in ensuring safe and personalised care. It also shows how continuity helps to build that crucial relationship between the woman and her midwife, shown by that between Mary-Kate and Aisling.

 “The focus in the standards on continuity is important and welcome. With these standards and the right numbers of staff and resources in place, I look forward to our maternity services proving the safest care to our mothers, babies and their families.”


Further background

  1. Get involved in the conversation on Twitter @nmcnews #FutureMidwife
  1. Read more information about the Future Midwife Standards
  1. As well as Belfast, the NMC is holding celebratory ‘My Future, My Midwife’ launch events in Wales (January 22), Scotland (February 5) and England (February 12)

For further media enquiries, please contact the NMC press office on 0207 621 5894 or email media@nmc-uk.org