The Nursing and Midwifery Council has appointed an internationally renowned researcher and midwife to lead on the development of new standards for the profession.
At the same time, Dr Bill Kirkup, who led the investigation into maternity failings at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, has joined the NMC’s midwifery panel.
“Midwives play a pivotal role in our health and care provision”
The regulator announced today that Professor Mary Renfrew would spearhead work to develop the new competency standards, which will underpin midwifery education and training.
Professor Renfrew is associate dean in the school of nursing and health sciences at the University in Dundee, where she is director of the mother and infant research unit
She also leads the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre, which brings together researchers, health and social care staff and others to look at ways of improving care.
The appointment marks a significant step forward after plans to revise the standards were delayed.
Earlier this year the regulator committed to revising standards for both nursing and midwifery courses.
“I have no doubt she is the right person to drive forward the development of these new standards”
While work to develop competencies for future nurses has already begun, plans to look at standards for midwives were stalled due to forthcoming regulatory changes around midwifery supervision.
However, the NMC said early work to gather evidence was now underway and confirmed the drafting of the new standards will being in spring next year. There will be a consultation on draft standards in spring 2018.
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said she was “delighted” Professor Renfrew, who has previously served as an NMC Council member, had agreed to lead on developing the standards.
NMC makes key appointments on midwifery regulation
“She brings with her a wealth of experience as a midwife, educator, and leading researcher and I have no doubt she is the right person to drive forward the development of these new standards,” said Ms Smith.
Professor Renfrew said she was looking forward to working with fellow midwives and others to ensure the standards were “fit for the future and focused on the needs and wishes of women, babies and families”.
“I am very pleased to be able to bring my experience to this significant role,” she said. “Midwives play a pivotal role in our health and care provision, and it is essential that they are equipped with the necessary and up to date knowledge, skills, and attributes to continue to deliver high quality care in a rapidly changing environment.”
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The NMC also announced today the high profile appointment of Dr Kirkup, who led the inquiry into maternity failings at Furness Hospital, to the regulator’s midwifery panel.
The panel, which including the chief nursing officers from the four UK nations and other midwifery experts, advises the NMC on key midwifery issues.
A former associate chief medical officer at the Department of Health, Dr Kirkup has joined the panel as a lay member.
As well as Morecambe Bay, he has led a raft of other high-profile investigations – including the Oxford paediatric cardiac surgery unit and Jimmy Savile’s involvement with Broadmoor Hospital. He was also the medical member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
“I am pleased to have been asked to join the NMC’s Midwifery Panel,” he said. “I look forward to working closely with other members of the panel and the NMC to shape the future of midwifery regulation during this crucial time for the profession.”