Measles epidemic 2019
All midwives must provide impartial, honest and accurate information in relation to midwifery care - and this includes immunisation.
Midwives have a key role in health promotion, education and information sharing. Practising midwives are responsible for ensuring that the information they provide is based on best practice evidence and is provided in a way that enables women and their families to make an informed decision regarding a range of aspects of care. The New Zealand College of Midwives consensus statement on immunisation recognises that the National Immunisation Programme is a public health strategy and that the principles of informed choice and consent must be upheld when discussing this matter with women.
Practising midwives have to demonstrate their ability to prescribe, supply and administer medicines and some vaccines that sit within the scope of practice of a midwife at the time of registration. They must also ensure that their knowledge remains current in this area throughout their career. The scope of practice of a midwife includes pregnancy and the time up to six weeks after the birth of the baby. This means that midwives have a key role in ensuring that women and their babies are referred in a timely manner to the appropriate primary health practitioners for immunisation.
In its monitoring of midwifery practice over the past 16 years, the Council has been pleased that the data provided by the Ministry of Health has demonstrated a very high rate of immunisation of infants in the first six weeks of life which is the period within the midwifery scope of practice.
The Midwifery Council is the regulatory body set up to protect the public by making sure midwives are competent and fit to practise. The Council’s first priority is always the safety of mothers and babies.