Midwifery Supervision in Northern Ireland

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and UK Government response to the findings from major national inquiries has been to recommend the separation of midwifery supervision from regulation activities. The Department of Health (DH) in England, working together with the Departments of Health in the Devolved Administrations, including Northern Ireland, has taken forward legislative changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 which will be effective from 31st March 2017.

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.







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