What to expect if a complaint is made about you

Any complaints received by the Midwifery Council alleging that a midwife's practice or conduct has affected a health consumer must be referred on to the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Commissioner decides whether he will investigate a complaint; and considers whether there has been a breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights. The Commissioner may refer the matter on to the Council and the Council will consider whether further action is required in relation to a midwife's competence or conduct. The Midwifery Council does not re-investigate the consumer's complaint.

What other action may the Council take when it receives a notification about a midwife?

The Council also makes inquiries and decides whether there is a need to take further action while the HDC investigates the matter. The Council may:

  • Take no action until the HDC completes its investigation
  • Require the midwife to undertake a competence programme
  • Review the midwife’s competence
  • Review the midwife’s fitness to practise
  • Suspend the midwife 


What if the midwife poses a risk of serious harm?

If the notification gives the Council reason to believe that the practice of a midwife may pose a risk of serious harm to the public, it must take immediate action. Under s39 of the HPCAA Act, the Council can suspend the midwife or put conditions on their practice. However, it can only do this after informing the midwife and giving them reasonable opportunity to be heard on the matter, either personally or in writing.