Legal changes to bring midwives under the same umbrella as nurses has passed in the House of Assembly. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, told MPs that the old legislation covering midwives “contained an outdated regulatory framework” that resulted in “a limited scope of practice and regulatory oversight”.
She added: “The ministry remains in ongoing consultations with registered midwives and other stakeholders for a phased approach to enhance safety and quality of care for women and babies, as well as address choice and potential cost savings for the health system.”
The Nursing Amendment Act 2018 merged legislation for midwives with the Nursing Act 1997 and repealed the Midwives Act 1949.
It also shifted the regulatory authority for midwives from the Bermuda Medical Council to the Bermuda Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The new Act was passed without objection on Friday night.
Tinée Furbert, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said that the changes took “an ancient piece of legislation and now brought it up to date”.
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said that any new legislation must “ensure that every birth is safe, that every baby is safe, and that every mother is safe.”
She said that merging the two professions together was “a positive thing” for efficiency and that the One Bermuda Alliance supported the legislation “in principle”.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “We just want to know that whatever we are doing, it continues to enhance the safety, the security, the comfort and the medical attention that is necessary to provide for a good outcome for both mother and child.”
Susan Jackson, shadow health minister, said that she hoped Bermudian youngsters would consider midwifery as a career path.
She added: “Certainly, we are all aware of the costs of going into the hospital and having a child.”
Ms Jackson said that further steps should be taken to improve midwifery qualifications.
She added that she hoped Bermuda continued to “foster this profession as a means of providing an alternative to mothers who are looking to have their children outside of the hospital”.
Ms Wilson said it “would have been nice to hear” from a male MP during the debate. However, she added that she thanked her colleagues for the cross-party support.
By Paul Johnston|RoyalGazette
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