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Midwifery practice and immunisation

June 15, 2017

The Midwifery Council code of conduct requires midwives to 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 also have a responsibility to ensure that the information that 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. This responsibility is supported by the New Zealand College of Midwives consensus statement on immunisation which 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 are required 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 practice 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. Midwives therefore have a key role in ensuring that women and their babies are referred in a timely manner to appropriate primary health practitioners for the purposes of immunisation and vaccination.

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.