Parental access to children's records: Considerations for midwives
Midwives work in partnership with women and sometimes, if the person in a midwife's care is a minor, with their parents. Richard Griffith discusses considerations regarding access to records.
Midwives have women of varying ages on their caseload, and it is essential that any care or treatment provided is done so within the law. Records provide evidence of a midwife's involvement with a child and they must be sufficiently detailed to show that the midwife's duty of care has been discharged.
Midwives work in partnership with the women on their caseload and, where the woman in question is under 18, this might also include her parents or guardian (Family Law Reform Act 1969, section 8 (3)). This partnership results in openness about the content of the child's record. Occasionally, however, parents will request formal access to and copies of their child's record. It is essential that midwives are aware of the procedures for applying for and releasing a child's record and the impact of Gillick competence on a parent's right of subject access to the record of their child.
Midwives have a duty to keep an accurate and contemporaneous record of their involvement with the women in their care.
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