Midwifery Council response to HPDT MID21/508D


June 2021


In 2019, the Health and Disability Commissioner found a midwife breached Right 7(1) of the Code of Rights by misleading her client during labour by administering saline and telling her it was pethidine. This matter was referred to the Director of Proceedings and charges have been laid at the Tribunal.

Dr Sue Calvert, CEO/Registrar of the Midwifery Council says: “The Council stresses that trust lies at the heart of the midwifery partnership and informed consent is an integral part of this. It is clear from the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights that services may be provided to a consumer only if they make an informed choice and give informed consent.”

The Council was notified of a breach finding in May 2019 and was subsequently informed that the Health and Disability Commissioner had referred the matter to the Director of Proceedings. In August 2019 the Council re-examined this case to see if there were wider competence issues involved in the light of the HDC report. The Council undertook a review and as a result applied conditions to the midwife’s practice which have since been successfully completed.

“Midwives need to always provide impartial, honest and accurate information in relation to care provided,” Dr Calvert says. “The Midwifery Code of Conduct stresses they must always act with integrity and be open and honest with their clients and their professional colleagues.”

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 of New Zealand
For media enquiries please contact the Council media advisor Leigh Bredencamp 027 457 2821.