PHSO published a thematic report on midwifery regulation – Midwifery supervision and regulation: recommendations for change in December 2013. This followed PHSO investigations into complaints from families at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. In all three cases, the local midwifery supervision and regulatory arrangements failed to identify poor midwifery practice. While the Ombudsman found no direct evidence of a conflict of interest in these cases, they illuminated a potential muddling of the supervisory and regulatory roles of Supervisors of Midwives (Supervisors). The report concluded that this means there is a risk that midwives fail to learn from mistakes, putting the safety of mothers and babies at risk.
Following the Ombudsman’s report, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) acknowledged ‘a structural flaw in the framework for midwifery regulation’. The NMC commissioned the King’s Fund to undertake an independent review of midwifery regulation, which aims to report in January 2015. The PHSO has made a written submission to the review.
PASC held a one-off evidence session to look into this.