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by Gillian Smith MBE, Director, The Royal College of Midwives Scotland
23 February 2015
The Soapbox: Government and midwives must work together - Gillian Smith

The Soapbox: Government and midwives must work together - Gillian Smith

It is an interesting time for midwives in Scotland as we celebrate the centenary of the Midwives Act (Scotland) and consider what advances we have made in the last 100 years.

Prior to 1915 some midwives were professionally trained but there was no legislation to govern midwifery practice and those with no formal training had learnt their skills through experience at births. The 1915 Act saw midwives certified, making the training, examination and regulation of midwives mandatory.

This year we will also see the revalidation of nurses and midwives for the first time through the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but midwives have always had a form of this through the statutory supervision model.

However, we are about to lose supervision as we know it, according to a recent announcement from the NMC, but many believe we should retain what was positive around this for the protection of the public and the support for midwives.  We need strong midwifery leadership to push this agenda.

We have seen very little fall off in the number of births over the last few years so it is essential that we work with the government to make sure the workforce for the future is adequate in number and in knowledge to provide the excellent care we have come to expect in Scotland from our maternity services. Our future generations deserve the best of care now after all public health begins in maternity services. The early years do not start at the moment of birth but indeed from conception and even pre conception. What a fantastic opportunity to get across some of these messages and offer support and confidence to new parents to give all children the best start in life.

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