As a result of legislative change, the function of Local Supervising Authorities (LSA) and statutory supervision of midwifery have been removed (31 March 2017). With the sponsorship of the Chief Nursing Officer for England, a time limited Taskforce developed a new employer led model of midwifery supervision called A-EQUIP (an acronym for Advocating for Education and QUality ImProvement) and set out plans for the transition from a statutory model of supervision, to an employer led professional model. Supervisors or midwives have been replaced with a Professional Midwifery Advocates (PMA).
The models elements were quality assured during the pilot phase (Nov 2016 – Mar 2017) when the approach was tested, evaluated and refined.
An education programme during 2017/18 saw the establishment of 768 PMAs (as of March 2018). Employers, under the instruction of the NHS Standard Contract and the A-EQUIP Operational Guidance, established the model of which PMAs are an integral part.
The model and the PMA role aims to:
- Provide a supportive function
- Support professional resilience
- Support midwives to provide high quality care and identify areas for improvement.
- Support the advocacy role of the midwife
- Include strategies which develop and invest in midwives
- Allow flexibility for local implementation
- Not to create additional financial pressures on providers.
Four Regional Maternity Teams now support the onward growth of the model as part of the ongoing Maternity Transformation Programme.