Draft midwifery education standards that place greater emphasis on mental health and public health have been outlined ahead of a planned publication consultation on them next year.
The proposed standards from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) aim to equip midwives with the skills to identify individual health and mental health needs early on in the pregnancy, and where necessary work in collaboration with multidisciplinary and multi-agency teams.
In addition, continuity of care is given increased focus, with the aim that throughout pregnancy and after birth mothers receive care from the same health professionals.
Meanwhile, education institutions could be given greater freedom to design their curriculum, including using latest evidence, new technologies and care techniques.
Pre-registration midwifery education standards were last updated in 2009, and the NMC’s draft admits there have been significant changes to the context in which midwives provide care since then. For example, women’s needs are more likely to be complex due to changing demographic and population health profiles, including rising numbers of women experiencing obesity and diabetes, and women becoming pregnant at an older age.
Professor Geraldine Walters CBE, director of education and standards at the NMC, said: ‘The demands on midwives are changing and it’s vital that education keeps pace to ensure that midwives of the future have the skills they need to deliver better, safer care throughout their careers. For the last two years we’ve collaborated with midwives, mothers, families and other health professionals to develop these proposals but they’re not yet the finished article. We need people to tell us what they think to help us to develop and refine the standards further.’
The Council will be asked to approve the draft standards for public consultation at its next meeting on 28 November. If approved, they will go out for a 12-week consultation in early 2019.