Changes to midwifery supervision

The way we regulate midwives has changed. The main effect of the changes is the removal of supervision from our regulatory legislation. We asked for this change after a number of critical incidents and independent reports confirmed that the previous arrangements were not appropriate for public protection.

The changes make sure that we are now solely responsible for all aspects of the regulation of midwives. All midwifery referrals will be made directly to us by employers, colleagues and the public, as is already the case for nurses.

In 2016, the Department of Health launched a consultation on the proposed changes to our legislation and in January 2017 the Government published its response. While the Government acknowledged the concerns raised by some midwives about the changes, it also set out clearly why it believed they are important.

It’s important to know that these changes do not alter the status of midwifery as a distinct profession, with its own standards of proficiency and separate part of the register. There will be no change to the protected title of ‘midwife’, and delivering a baby remains a protected function for a midwife or a medical practitioner. There are also no changes to the scope of midwifery practice, which is reflected in the Standards for competence for registered midwives and the Code.

We’ll also continue to make sure midwifery has a strong voice within the UK.

Intention to practise notices

Previously, if a midwife intended to practise in the UK, they were required to submit an Intention to practise (ItP) notice to their supervisor of midwives each year. Midwives are no longer required to confirm their intention to practise to their supervisor of midwives. Instead, their entry on our register will simply show their registration status and renewal date. To remain effective on the register, they will need to pay their annual fee and revalidate every three years as usual.

New models of supervision

Although the changes mean that supervision is no longer linked to regulation, this does not mean that the positive aspects of supervision are going to be lost. Each of the four countries of the UK are taking forward their own plans for new models of supervision that are led by employers. These models focus on supporting and developing effective midwifery practice. We believe that the things most valued by midwives about supervision are continuing across the UK.

You can find out more about the new models of supervision being developed across the UK below:

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