IMUK back to the future

02 February 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 2


Jacqui Tomkins, chair of IMUK, discusses the challenges independent midwifery has faced in the past few years and looks to the future of the profession.

A couple of years ago practicing midwifery didn't look like an option to self-employed midwives.

Faced with the fast approaching EU directive 2011/24/EU requiring all health professionals to have professional indemnity insurance, Independent Midwives UK (IMUK) took up the challenge to solve this elusive condition of practice for its members. The decision to attempt this previously impossible task involved reassessing the current thinking around risk and then challenging the assumptions and understandings of not just ourselves but that of the insurance industry. With the help of our clinical statistics, collected over 11 years, and the NHS Litigation Authority's Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts payout scales, we were able to engage with brokers, underwriters and negligence lawyers, to understand the actual risks associated with midwifery care, and separate them from the obstetric ones.

Questioning the status quo has started to become second nature for independent midwives and it is something we must all be prepared to entertain if we are to move our profession away from the very industrialised childbirth model that women are very clearly saying they do not want to be presented with.

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