Competence reviews

Competence reviews (College of Midwives consensus statments) are designed to assess a midwife’s competence in a collegial way, to educate and to focus on assisting midwives to improve their standard of practice. However, if they are not practising at the required level of competence, the Council must act to protect the public. 

Although a specific concern may have triggered a review, a review is of the midwife’s competence in the areas specified in the Terms of Reference rather than an investigation of a specific complaint. The Review is not a challenge to a midwife’s ethnicity or cultural values which may enhance and be an additional part of their midwifery practice.

The HPCA Act defines “required standard of competence” as the standard of competence reasonably to be expected of a midwife practising within the midwifery Scope of Practice (s5). The review of competence, whatever form it takes, should provide an opportunity for the midwife to demonstrate their competence across the Midwifery Scope of Practice.

Who carries out a competence review?

The Council has a pool of experienced midwife reviewers who must have the following criteria:

  • Registration in New Zealand as a midwife
  • Hold a current midwifery practising certificate with no conditions on scope
  • Have current experience in midwifery
  • Have a high degree of clinical competence
  • Considered to be of good reputation in the midwifery profession
  • Have good verbal and written and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to preserve confidentiality of the information that comes to knowledge in the course of carrying out the Review
  • Has never been the subject of an adverse finding through any professional disciplinary body
  • Full engagement in Recertification Programme

 A midwife’s responsibilities

The Council expects the midwife to tell the following people that a review is taking place:  

  • Their employer (if any)
  • Their professional partners or associates
  • Any DHB with whom they have an Access Agreement
  • NZCOM if they are a member of a Midwifery Standards Review Panel or a Resolutions Committee
  • The relevant School of Midwifery if they have students

What forms can a review of competence take?

  • There are a number of ways in which the Council may review a midwife’s competence. The Council normally uses any one of the following:
  • Formal competence review
  • Competence assessment
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessment
  • Case review
  • Special Midwifery Standards Review
  • Require the midwife to sit the National Midwifery Examination

 A midiwfe's rights

A midwife is entitled to:

  • Suggest relevant persons to whom the Panel should speak
  • Make written submissions and be heard on the matter either personally or by way of a representative
  • Have a chosen support person present when they meet with the Review Panel
  • Have any cultural considerations taken into account.