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Maintaining competence

The Midwifery Council is responsible for ensuring that midwives in New Zealand are competent to practise so that the public of New Zealand can be assured of a certain level of care from midwives.

The Competencies for Entry to the Register provide details of the skills, knowledge and attitudes expected of a midwife to work within the Midwifery Scope of Practice. Whereas the Midwifery Scope of Practice provides the broad boundaries of midwifery practice, the Competencies provide the detail of how a registered midwife is expected to practise and what they are expected to be capable of doing.

Midwives will have their competence assessed for various purposes.

The Midwifery Council sets the standards of clinical and cultural competence. The first 'Competencies for Entry to the Register of Midwives' were established in 2004 and in 2007 they were revised to include Turanga Kaupapa. The Midwifery Council has also clarified the relationship between the Midwifery Scope of Practice and the Competencies for Entry to the Register of Midwives.

The Midwifery Council's Registration Policies set out how competence is assessed for registration.

Once registered, midwives are required to participate in the Midwifery Council's Recertification Programme in order to demonstrate that they remain competent to practise and can obtain an Annual Practising Certificate.

The Midwifery Council has policy on requirements for midwives who are returning to practice after an absence of three or more years. Under HPCAA (2003) these midwives have to demonstrate their competence to practise before being issued with a Midwifery Practising Certificate.

From time to time questions may be raised about a midwife's competence, either by notification from someone outside of the Council, or through the Council's Recertification Programme. In these situations the Council may decide to carry out a Competence Review of the midwife. The Council has policy for carrying out Competence Reviews.

As a result of a Competence Review or at the direction of the Council a midwife may be required to complete a Competence Programme. These are individual programmes designed to meet the identified needs of the individual midwife in order to bring their practice to the appropriate level of competence.