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Homebirth and the regulator: An abrogation of responsibility

02 December 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 12


Despite recommendations, many women in the UK are denied the choice to give birth at home. Beverley Beech argues that the Nursing and Midwifery Council must be held to account.

In 2006, following considerable lobbying and consultation, the Mid wifery Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) updated guidance on the responsibility of a midwife to attend a homebirth (NMC, 2006). At the time, this circular was a powerful directive that asserted the rights of women to choose their ‘place of birth’ and set out the responsibilities of midwives to support women who opt for a homebirth.

Homebirth had long been a contentious subject, but in the intervening decade since the publication of this NMC circular, birth at home is well supported by the research evidence (Brocklehurst et al, 2011; Li et al, 2015) and is part of the Government's vision for the future of maternity care in the UK (National Maternity Review, 2016). So what has happened in the intervening 10 years?

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