Supporting midwives' healthThe Council is required to protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring that midwives are both competent and fit to practise midwifery. When concerns are raised about a midwife's fitness to practise because of a mental or physical condition, the Council is therefore required to make enquiries about that midwife's state of health.
Under section 45 of the HPCA Act, people in particular roles must inform the Council if they have reason to believe a midwife is unable to safely practise. These people are:
- a person in charge of an organisation that provides health services;
- a health practitioner;
- the midwife's employer
- a medical officer of health.
Any other person who has concerns about a midwife's health may notify the Council. Council has developed policy to address health concerns. These are summarised in our leaflet "The Health Committee" which is available free of charge on request from the secretariat. In summary, Council has a Health Committee and any midwife who is brought to Council's attention because it appears she/he cannot make safe judgments, demonstrate normal levels of competence or behave appropriately in accordance with ethical. legal and practice guidelines may be referred to that Committee. There are a number of factors which increase the likelihood that a concern is more appropriately dealt with as a health issue rather than as a competence or conduct issue, for example, evidence of acute stress in the midwife's life or evidence of a physical or mental illness. (This is not an exhaustive list).
The midwife is invited to comment on the concerns raised. The Health Committee generally requires the midwife to undergo a medical examination (as provided for in the HPCA Act) and will usually then meet the midwife to discuss the findings and any recommendations in the medical report. The Health Committee may then take a range of actions but at all times balances the right of the midwife to a fair process against the need sometimes to act promptly and balances the desire to support the midwife to regain her health against the need to protect the health and safety of the public.
If you have concerns, based on evidence, about the health of a midwife, please contact:
The Council's Registrar
(04) 498 8995
or write to the Registrar:
PO Box 24448,