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At Private Midwives, we believe in making sure all our expectant mothers have the best possible experience through pregnancy, part of which is having the reassurance of knowing that their dedicated midwife is insured and the care that they are receiving is supported and approved in every way.
Ensuring we always provide the very latest in private maternity services means we consider our insurance as an extremely important part of the care our clients receive.
Private Midwives are very proud to be fully insured for all aspects of midwifery care with no exclusions on practice.
Outside of the NHS, Private Midwives is the only national provider of midwifery services to have appropriate insurance, with a £15m level of cover.
We've come a long way since the roots of our organisation were formed by an independent midwife over a decade ago. Today, we are over 80 midwives strong - individuals all dedicated and committed to working together around the UK and Eire.
However, during this time, independent and private midwifery has faced many challenges and changes. For decades, midwives outside the NHS (or HSE in Ireland) have worked completely on their own, in pairs, or in small groups to provide care for women. Often their clients have been unable to access the care they want in the NHS/HSE systems, or they have preferred the comfort of knowing who will share their birth journey from start to finish. Many of these midwives have additional skills and expertise that are not found in mainstream health care services. These midwives are typically highly skilled, dedicated and available 24/7 for their clients. They have made a significant difference to the women in their care and also to the midwifery profession as a whole.
In July 2014 the Healthcare and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order was introduced and it became law in the U.K. and Ireland for midwives to have adequate and appropriate indemnity arrangements in place. Not doing so became a criminal offence. However, there was no formal guidance as to what level of cover was required or where this could be obtained from.
Amongst others, we worked with the U.K. Department of Health, the Nursing & Midwifery Council (the Regulator of midwives), the Royal College of Midwives and many senior experts in the insurance industry to secure a £15m level of indemnity that was comparable to the NHS where maternity claims can be millions of pounds at a time, and hence deemed as being adequate and appropriate.
We were one of a total of three expanding midwifery organisations to secure this level of insurance. Each of these organisations is also registered with the Care Quality Commission.
Many midwives who had previously worked as sole practitioners decided to join one of these three organisations at this time, taking with them their skills, expertise and dedication.
Having secured the ability to continue to provide care by opting for insurance that was comparable to the NHS, we have continued to seek clarity from the regulators about what they would consider to be an adequate and appropriate level of cover. We were also aware that in some cases midwives were providing care with significantly lower levels of cover and we are keen to keep costs to a minimum whilst ensuring we meet safe and legal thresholds. We highlighted this disparity to the regulator and again asked for clarification.
We understand that the Regulator held discussions with all the midwifery organisations operating outside the NHS throughout 2015 and 2016. To date a clear mandate of the minimum level of cover required has still not been provided. However, some midwives have been stopped from providing care as their level of indemnity cover was inadequate. As one of three organisations to have cover comparable to the traditional NHS, we have been allowed to continue to provide services.
In addition to the requirement for indemnity insurance, other regulatory changes were brought in. In England, although the Nursing & Midwifery Council (the Regulator) insisted on the same levels of training for individual midwives inside and outside the NHS, those outside it and working as sole practitioners were not previously subject to the scrutiny of the Care Quality Commission and a host of additional regulatory bodies. This also changed and any midwives working in groups or teams now needed to register with, and be inspected by the Care Quality Commission to provide assurance and safe oversight of their services. This combination of regulation and insurance has presented many challenges for all maternity care providers.
With the insurance premiums costing hundreds of thousands of pounds and whilst only having a relatively small number of clients, we and the other organisations have continued to operate on a not for profit or social enterprise basis, with the support of financial backers and volunteers to ensure that a choice of services for women could and can continue to be provided safely and legally.
In 2016, we underwent significant internal change and the company changed ownership. The Board of Directors also changed as part of this process. Our new owners are a group of inspirational individuals, who privately support large healthcare related projects around the world that make and deliver a lasting social difference. At this point, the decision was also taken to rename as ‘Private Midwives’, so that our name more accurately reflects what we do.
In the Republic of Ireland, things have also developed. Here, there is a significant demand for home birth services that are not widely accessible to women. For a short time we teamed up with a company who were providing information and publicity about homebirths and they referred women to us, so that our midwives could provide care. This was a temporary arrangement and in October 2016, the two companies split and Private Midwives Ireland was launched.
Private Midwives is also committed to improving midwifery services world wide. We have supported our midwives to travel to Ghana and to South Africa to share their skills and expertise. We have also undertaken a number of charity events to raise money for charities committed to supporting women and families world wide.
As professional and dedicated midwives, it is our privilege to share this exciting time with the families we care for. It is our priority to continue to provide a range of care options, work in collaboration with other providers and expand the services we offer. Please see some wonderful testimonials from our clients by clicking here
Legislation comes into force in 17th July 2014 for the protection and benefit of mothers, babies and the midwives who assist them.
This legislation makes it a legal requirement for any individual, or company providing midwifery services in the UK to have appropriate insurance.
Outside of the NHS, Private Midwives is the only national provider of midwifery services to have appropriate insurance, with a £10m level of cover.
Our underwriters are one of the largest in the world and global leaders in medical insurance.
Having decided not to insure many other maternity service providers, they have chosen to work with Private Midwives, for the following reasons;
All of the above means that our hugely experienced midwives are fortunate enough to be able to continue to provide a unique and legal service...
… and our clients are safe in the knowledge that one of the most important events in their lives is properly, professionally and safely delivered.
Update regarding insurance
Please see the link below from the latest information regarding The Health Care and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014
We've just been voted the Best Midwifery Service in the UK for 2018 at the Parent & Baby Awards held by Lux Life Magazine
This year we're supporting the 4Louis charity, supporting families through miscarriage, stillbirth and child loss - The UK has one of the highest still birth rates in Europe and the 4Louis charity is run by bereaved parents, for bereaved parents on a voluntary basis. They make memory boxes and send these out to parents who experience a still birth or miscarriage. Private Midwives will be making a donation for every care package or item bought from the store to the charity. Please help to support us by making a donation.