Laurence Vick
Posted on 25 Sep 2013

Michelmores Update – Independent Midwives

Hope for the UK's independent midwives as reports suggest they have found insurance cover.

Following an announcement by Maya Midwives on 18 September 2013, there is tentative hope that Independent Midwives (IMs) have finally been able to secure indemnity cover. The announcement states that Independent Midwives UK, the trade body for IMs, '[does] have an insurance product that will be active from October and Independent Midwives will continue to practice legally and provide full midwifery care including care in labour.'

Little else is revealed, and it remains to be seen what format this indemnity takes, and from what source it has come. Concerns had been raised by the insurance market that IMs were commercially uninsurable, given the potential for huge liabilities arising from birth injury. It had been suggested by those insurers that State indemnity would be the only option for IMs, who have been operating without cover since 1994.

The conditions and premiums of any indemnity package for IMs will be hugely significant, and could foreshadow future developments in the medical insurance industry. A 2011 EU directive stipulating indemnity cover for all regulated healthcare practitioners is soon to be implemented in the UK; lawyers, underwriters and health professionals will be watching developments with interest, as they could have ramifications far beyond the field of midwifery. For now, however, IMs appear to have a chance to preserve their trade; this should be good news for expectant mothers.

Michelmores have produced a full commentary on the current circumstances of independent midwives, which you can read here.