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In the third blog ahead of the imminent launch of A-EQUIP, Carmel Lloyd from the Royal College of Midwives welcomes the model and the benefits it will bring.
Since the announcement in 2015 by the Department of Health (DH) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) that the supervision of midwives would be removed from statute, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has worked collaboratively with all four countries in the UK to develop a new employer led model of supportive and restorative supervision for midwives.
On behalf of the RCM, I would like to acknowledge all the hard work, commitment and dedication of the staff from the different organisations in England over the last year who have contributed to the development of the A-EQUIP model of supervision which is being launched imminently by NHS England.
This is a significant development and important change for midwives and we welcome the introduction of a new model of supervision designed to ensure that the supportive and developmental aspects of supervision which are so critical to the safe, high quality care of women will remain in place.
The RCM has always been concerned that a system which is not required in statute will be implemented in an ad hoc way, and will be particularly vulnerable at a time when there is pressure on resources. It is therefore particularly positive to see that commissioning guidance will require NHS maternity services to have the A-EQUIP model in place.
In order for the new model of supervision to become embedded into the system and for it to be successful and thrive it needs to be embraced and supported by all staff from ward to board within the maternity service. This includes midwives, current supervisors who have transferable skills to become the new Professional Midwife Advocates, the leaders of the profession, Heads of Midwifery as well as Directors of Nursing, the new Maternity Champions who lead on maternity patient safety, the Board and the Chief Executive.
I know and there is increasing research evidence to demonstrate that health care services which support and develop their staff achieve better outcomes and quality of care for their patients.
Key to the A-EQUIP model is the development of advocacy skills by midwives to ensure that women are supported in their choices for antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care as well as upholding their basic human right to be treated with dignity and respect and it is particularly pleasing to see that this has a strong focus within the new model.
The RCM hopes that midwives, maternity services and ultimately women and their babies will benefit from the introduction of this new model and we look forward to working with midwives to help make this happen.