Currently there is no professional insurance available to independent midwives, which means we are personally liable in the event of any negligence claim made against us. (Midwives employed by the NHS are covered through their Health Trusts’ insurance scheme).
Research has shown that most people sue hospitals because they feel they received inadequate information or explanation from their caregivers, their care was impersonal and/or procedures were carried out without properly informed consent. Often what is wanted is a full explanation or apology, not necessarily financial compensation. If this is not forthcoming then patients sue as the only option they have to seek redress.
We aim to build a close and trusting relationship with our clients, based on clear communication and information exchange and our respect for your right to make your own choices and decisions about the care you want to receive. We trust that this partnership approach will largely protect us against the kinds of scenario where people sue their health professionals.
How this affects you:
You need to think carefully about how you might feel should the outcome of your pregnancy not be as you desired. Unfortunately, unexpected tragedies do occur and, in most cases, no one is to blame.
Should you feel that we have been negligent in any way in the provision of your care, you might want to consider further action. Should you prove negligence, the value of any compensation would be based on our individual worth (i.e. the value of our assets and earnings). In this event we would also receive disciplinary action through our professional regulatory body and if necessary, be struck off the register.
How this affects us:
All midwives are required to document everything we say and do; independent midwives are especially vigilant about this. We choose to work independently because our whole philosophy and attitude to care is based on our belief that our role is to offer well-informed, up-to-date and honest midwifery expertise and advice, to enable and support you in making your own informed choices about care for yourself and your baby. Any decisions affecting your care are made jointly and with your full consent. Working in this way is, we believe, the best protection for you and ourselves.
For further information about independent midwives and insurance, contact the Independent Midwives Association at www.independentmidwives.org.uk