The Midwifery Council response to HDC Case 19HDC01820

June 2021

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner found a midwife (RM) breached Right 4(1) of the Code of Rights by not reviewing ultrasound scans and following up on an ultrasound scan. The midwife was also found to be in breach of Right 6(1) by not responding to repeated requests for information about the scan results.

Dr Sue Calvert, CEO/Registrar of the Midwifery Council says: “The Council expects midwives to set realistic boundaries for caseload size so that the quality of care is not compromised. Midwives need to have adequate systems for backup, documentation and information management within their practice. While The Council acknowledges the changes that this midwife implemented, it will liaise with the College and Schools of Midwifery to ascertain if there is any additional administrative education required to support midwives when they establish a community based practice.”

The Council was notified of this complaint in August 2020. The Council reviewed the notification and assessed the risk to the public. The midwife made changes to her practise around future communications and systems for reviewing results such as scans. At the time of the incident, a combination of circumstances meant that a new LMC midwife was left covering for colleagues. This resulted in a demanding workload and a lack of professional support. The midwife has since changed practice setting and is now employed as a midwife in core practice.

“Safety is paramount,” Dr Calvert says. “All midwives need to ensure that no act or omission places wahine and whānau at risk.”

Dr Calvert says: “Our first priority is always the safety of mothers and babies as the Council is the regulatory body set up to protect the public by making sure midwives are competent and fit to practise.”

Released by the Midwifery Council
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