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In the first of a series of blogs this week, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent highlights the background and benefits of the new model of midwifery supervision for all midwives in England.
There is so much going on across the NHS right now and maternity is no exception.
One of the big programmes of work that we have been working on is the development of a new model of clinical supervision for midwives which will be launched on the 1 April 2017.
As many of you may know, professional development and support similar to clinical supervision has been available to midwives since 1902 through statutory supervision. As a result of legislative change prompted by the Kirkup Report, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Department of Health (DH), the governing legislation (the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001) has been subject to a Section 60 order and the function of Local Supervising Authorities (LSA) and statutory supervision of midwifery will be removed on the 31March.
The DH acknowledged that there were a number of non-regulatory elements of statutory supervision that were highly valued by midwives and women and in January 2016, published a set of principles that were to underpin the development of new models of clinical midwifery supervision.
In response to this, a cross-organisational, multi-stakeholder taskforce was established to oversee the development of a new model of midwifery supervision for England.
To develop the new model, we have engaged with more than 2,400 individuals across the health system through surveys, online platforms, attending events and conferences.
More recently, we have been working with a number of pilot sites that have been testing the new model and the programme of education required to deploy the new model. We have learned from the evaluation findings, undertaken by Sheffield University School of Health, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and of course the pilot sites testing our new model and can now introduce to you ‘A-EQUIP’ (an acronym for advocating for education and quality improvement). This is also a good opportunity to introduce the role of the Professional Midwifery Advocate, the midwife responsible for deploying A-EQUIP.
A-EQUIP is a continuous improvement process that aims to build personal and professional resilience, enhance quality of care for women and babies and support preparedness for professional revalidation. This approach to supervision aims to ensure that through staff development, action to improve quality and experience of care becomes an intrinsic part of everyone’s job, every day, in all parts of the system.
A-EQUIP enables the flexibility required for healthcare organisations to implement this model according to their own workforce requirements and deploy the model to other professions. This means that unlike the current statutory model of supervision where every element had to be deployed, the new employer led model means that there is flexibility, depending on each employer and the issues and challenges they face.
Please watch out for our operational guidance that will be published on the 1 April 2017. This document will provide further information about the model and guidance for midwives, leaders, managers, maternity providers, commissioners and Higher Education Institutes. A significant contribution to the document from a user of maternity services describes how A-EQUIP and the PMA role will work for women who use maternity services, including the role of ‘advocacy’.
The ambitions of the NHS England supervision taskforce and the associated work streams was to develop a model of midwifery supervision that harnesses the strengths of the statutory model, avoids the pitfalls of the past and embraces the opportunities of the future; a model that supports and empowers midwives to provide safe, high quality, kind, compassionate, care to women and their families. I really believe that this ambition has been achieved.
There is a lot going on in the world of maternity at the moment and there is a natural synergy between the A-EQUIP model of supervision for midwives and the ambitions of the Maternity Transformation Programme, Safer Maternity Care: next steps towards the national maternity ambition and Leading Change, Adding Value, which are some of the national programmes aimed at improving the experiences and outcomes of those who use our health services, today.
Recently, Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England wrote to all midwives outlining the coming changes to midwifery supervision. To give all midwives the opportunity to learn more about the model ahead of publication over the next few weeks, this week of action is intended to provide key messages and information about A-EQUIP and demonstrate from a range of organisations how the model will help all midwives, whatever their role, wherever they work.
Keep an eye out for further blogs this week and wherever you can, follow @6CsLive and use the hashtag #A-EQUIP to join the conversation and find out how the model is working in practice at the seven pilot sites.