Future midwife

Our Council have approved the future midwife standards!

Read more about the consultation and next steps below.

New standards for the future midwife

Midwifery is a unique, rewarding and dynamic profession and midwives are highly skilled, knowledgeable professionals. Every birth is touched by a midwife and that is an incredibly special privilege.

In order to provide the best and safest care, midwives must take account of demographic differences, health and care profiles, and the needs, views and preferences of women and their families.

That’s why we’ve worked in partnership with midwives, student midwives, women, families and other health and care professionals across all four countries of the UK to coproduce standards that fully prepare midwives of the future.

Involving the experts

We asked Professor Mary Renfrew to lead the development of new proficiency standards and Professor Gwendolen Bradshaw to lead on producing the new pre-registration programme standards.

This work was based on the best current evidence, and draws on the quality framework and the definition of midwifery as set out in the Lancet Series on Midwifery, and on the definition of the midwife as set out by the International Confederation of Midwives – focussing on knowledgeable, skilled, kind and respectful care for all women, their babies and families.

Professor Mary Renfrew brought together a group of midwifery and maternity experts, other health and care professionals and service user representatives in a Thought Leadership Group to oversee the drafting of the new standards. The draft new standards were also considered by our Midwifery Panel and our Council before being approved for public consultation.

Consulting on our proposals

These standards matter. That’s why it was so important we heard the views of everyone who cares about midwifery when developing them.

To help us do that we held a 12-week consultation for people to have their say on the draft standards.

During the consultation, we organised:

  • Fourteen workshop events in seven cities, in all four countries of the UK
  • Visits to maternity units around the country to take views from midwives in practice
  • Joint events with key stakeholders, including the Royal College of Midwives and the Council of Deans of Health
  • Two roundtable events to hear feedback from advocacy groups as well as other health and care professionals and their representative organisations
  • Exhibitions at important conferences around the country to raise awareness of the draft new standards
  • Four webinars that focussed on answering questions from educators, midwives and interested groups and organisations, and two Twitter chats, one in partnership with the Council of Deans of Health

future midwife

The response was huge

Hundreds of people came to our consultation workshops and signed into our webinars. All in all, we engaged with more than 3,000 people at events, meetings and conferences during our consultation.

To ensure we considered all the views we heard, we commissioned an independent research company to analyse the responses.

We brought together experts and representatives from across the maternity and midwifery community in a Consultation Assimilation Team, who used this independent report to refine the draft standards further. We also sought input from Professors of Midwifery and other academics in two further webinars.

Alongside this work, we reconvened the Thought Leadership Group and took further views from our Midwifery Panel.

What happens now?

Our Council approved the standards at their meeting on Thursday 3 October 2019.

Now they’ve been approved, we’ll be designing a final product and translating it into Welsh. Once this is completed, we’ll upload the finished standards to our website this autumn.

We’ll then formally launch the standards in early 2020, with launch events in each UK country. This is an important moment to celebrate the midwifery profession and the women, their babies and families who depend on it, particularly as we enter the 2020 World Health Organisation Year of the Midwife.

The first midwifery programmes based on the new standards will begin in September 2020 and the standards will be fully implemented by September 2021.

How to stay involved

You can also follow us on Twitter or check out #FutureMidwife.