Future midwifery supervision in Northern Ireland
Separating supervision from regulation does not mean an end to supervision; only to its statutory components. In Northern Ireland, the then Minister of Health approved work to develop a new, non-statutory supervision model. Removal of this additional layer of regulation means midwifery supervision will continue in a non-statutory format, with the governance of midwifery practice resting with employers.
A new framework for the overarching supervision of midwifery, nursing and safeguarding children will be introduced on the completion of the CNO-commissioned NIPEC work. Whilst this work is ongoing, midwifery (as well as nursing and safeguarding) supervision will continue in Northern Ireland.
From 1 April 2017 and until the overarching framework is developed, practising midwives in Northern Ireland can expect to:
- Have a named midwifery supervisor (who is an experienced, additionally trained midwife)
- Have a supervisory review with their midwifery supervisor at least once a year.
- Have 24/7 access to an experienced clinical midwife for professional advice
- Avail of supervision from their midwifery supervisor for support and development as requested.
- Use evidence from non-statutory supervision to contribute to their revalidation activities.
From 1 April 2017 Heads of Midwifery (HoMs) in Northern Ireland will expect to:
- Keep a list of midwifery supervisors employed within their Trust
- Maintain a record of those supervisees allocated to each midwifery supervisor
- Ensure that newly appointed midwives are allocated a named midwifery supervisor
- Monitor the ratio of midwifery supervisors to midwifery supervisees with an aim to maintain this at 1:15
- Meet regularly with the midwifery supervisors to discuss and communicate emerging issues, practice standards and support sharing of best practice.
- Identify suitable midwives to be midwifery supervisors and support them to undertake appropriate preparation for the role.
From 1 April 2017 Midwifery Supervisors in Northern Ireland will expect to:
- Ensure that their supervisees have an opportunity for a supervisory review at least once a year which contributes to revalidation processes.
- Promote normality and the role of the midwife through support, advice and professional development of their supervisees
- Use the online Northern Ireland Regional Record for Supervision of Midwives Review of Practice document to record details of supervision activities.
- Provide information, advice and advocate for women.
- Participate in regular meetings to promote high standards of supervision and communication of emerging issues and best practice.