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Regulator decides more time is needed to develop new midwifery education standards

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has agreed to delay its work on developing new education standards for midwifery, meaning universities will not be able to adopt them from autumn 2019 as some had planned.

At an NMC council meeting in London on Wednesday, it was agreed by the regulator that more time was needed to develop the standards and consult on the proposed changes due to the complexity of the work and range of people the regulator wanted to speak with.

The regulator, which is revamping education requirements for nurses and midwives separately, had originally wanted to publish draft midwifery standards for consultation by spring 2018.

It previously said all universities would have to adopt the standards from September 2020, but some would have the option to do so a year earlier. However, the NMC now plans to launch the consultation in spring 2019, with the final version approved in November of the same year.

The NMC had outlined the change of schedule in council papers published ahead of the meeting held on 27 September, as previously reported by Nursing Times. Council members yesterday agreed to the proposals.

Under the proposed new timeline, all universities would still need to update their courses in line with the new standards by September 2020. But there will not be an option for some universities to run revised courses under the new standards a year earlier.

At yesterday’s meeting, NMC director of education Geraldine Walters noted that if the timeline was not altered, it would mean less time was spent on reviewing standards for midwives than there would have been on those for nurses.

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Geraldine Walters

She also noted the “level of engagement” with registrants, the public and others required more time than was originally suggested.

Work to update education requirements for nurses began ahead of that for midwives due to legislative changes to midwifery supervision.

The NMC’s public consultation on new nurse training standards recently closed on 12 September.

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