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Independent Midwives

March 17, 2013

Leave them alone – ignore the EU legislation

Many friends are pushing a petition against the new EU directive compelling independent midwives to carry malpractice insurance. This will make it impossible for most of them to practice, because the premiums are unaffordable, and will push women into the arms of untrained people, or even to deliver alone. Petition here. Background here. Consultation here.

Since we need more diversity in UK health care, not less, I signed. But I’ve just read it more carefully:

“Independent Self Employed Midwives are asking the Government to re look at EU directive (2011/24/EU) which becomes effective in October 2013 and links a health care professionals registration to Professional Indemnity Insurance. […] Government help is requested in securing workable and affordable commercial insurance to find a way forward.”

That sounds like a request for government support to pay the premiums, or to set up a government-backed scheme. That won’t happen. No government can indemnify independent health care providers, who it neither employs nor controls.  It’s expensive enough indemnifying NHS employees, who can be forced to follow guidelines and keep up to date.

The solution is less government, not more. The current system works, and should be allowed to continue. Women who choose to deliver under the care of an independent midwife know they they might not get compensation for negligent damage – just like they don’t for a non-negligent accident. Independent midwives keep their assets in a partner’s name, and otherwise ignore the problem – lawyers only go where the money is!

By all means insist that women are fully informed, but don’t forbid a perfectly reasonable contract between two adults. Ignore this foolish bit of EU legislation.

Jim Thornton

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