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Midwifery Scope of Practice

The points below will form the outline of our correspondence to Minister Reti, you are welcome to use the same points but it is a great idea to personalise your letter with an introduction that tells the Minister about you and your own experiences - about how this could impact you and your loved ones.

To Hon Dr Shane Reti

  1. The proposed Midwifery Scope of Practice (MSP) is due to be implemented by the Midwifery Council on July 1st 2024.

  2. A key change in the scope and language of the proposed MSP is the replacement of the words “woman” and “mother” with “whānau”.

  3. The feedback received during the second consultation phase was over 90% negative.

  4. There are fundamental concepts contained within the proposed Midwifery Scope of Practice (MSP) that are directly at odds with the New Zealand Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (The Code).

  5. The Code contains 10 rights that are available to each person as an individual, the rights provide all individuals with privacy and autonomy over their health care - except in circumstances where the individual is deemed to have diminished capacity / competency. Even in cases where capacity or competency is limited, the individual is still entitled to make decisions up to the limit of that capacity. 

  6. The Code gives a woman - and only her - the right to make decisions concerning her pregnancy and birth.

  7. The MSP is removing the right of an individual woman in favour of the right of her family or whānau. 

  8. This is in direct conflict with the rights that women have fought for over the past 60 years, rights that include autonomy over her body and her birthing experience.

  9. Because of the conflict between The Code and the MSP, we believe that the MSP should be rejected by the Ministry of Health and the Midwifery Council should be required to design a new MSP based on the feedback received. The existing MSP should remain in force until this can be completed.

  10. There are numerous situations where it is vital that the midwife’s working relationship and focus is with the mother, the woman giving birth;

  11. Confidentiality - how much information can the midwife share with the whānau? According to The Code, nothing can be shared without the express permission of the individual, 

  12. Hostile environment - without the support of a midwife how can a woman stand up to her whānau to achieve the kind of birthing experience that she wishes?

  13. Cultural differences - a woman may have very different ideas regarding her birthing experience and pregnancy than her whānau - whose views would be given priority?

  14. Domestic violence - how can a midwife screen for safety issues when she may not even be able to visit with her client alone?

  15. These changes are being forced upon midwives - they will have no choice but to treat the mother and whānau as a whole. Failure to do so will be a failure to adhere to the MSP.


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