Setting and maintaining high professional standards is fundamental to public protection and public confidence in the midwifery profession. We need to ensure that the College of Midwives of Ontario standards of practice clearly set out the high standards we expect of all midwives.
The development of the new Professional Standards for Midwives (Professional Standards) is a major step forward in reforming our current standards of practice. It forms the first phase of a wider program of work to streamline our approach to regulation to promote targeted and proportionate regulation in the public interest.
Public protection is at the heart of everything we do, and our principles-based approach to the standards is designed to benefit midwifery clients, the greater public, and the profession as a whole. For more information on our new approach to regulation and what it means in the context of the standards of practice, please read our Consultation Paper.
Our first consultation on the Professional Standards was conducted this past summer. You can read some of the comments from the first round of consultation here.
During the first consultation, we gathered feedback in three different ways: a survey, comments on the website, and e-mails sent directly to the College. We are grateful for the time and effort given by respondents who replied in detail to our first consultation, and we welcome both the support of, and challenges to, our proposals. The comments have provided us with a wide spectrum of views from midwives, regulatory and midwifery stakeholders as well as clients and the public. You can read our response to the first round of consultation here.
In our response paper we,
Q: What are the Professional Standards that are proposed for midwives?
A: You can read the proposed Professional Standards here. We’ve made some changes in response to the feedback received in our first round of consultation, which you can see here. Please note that where we have made changes to the Professional Standards, additions are shown in purple and deletions have a strikethrough.
Q: What’s changing? Will the way that I practise midwifery change?
A: We want to reiterate that the Professional Standards sets out the minimum standards for the midwifery profession in Ontario. There is nothing in the standards that prevents midwives from continuing to work in the model of care as it is defined by the current college standards. For example, midwives can continue to work in groups of no more than four midwives, provide continuity of care in a way that ensures every client knows who will attend their birth and attend every birth with a second midwife. It is up to midwives to define midwifery in Ontario in a way that meets the needs of their clients as well as the minimum standards established by the College. The Professional Standards trusts that midwives know how to do this.
Q: When did this consultation start?
A: This consultation started on October 19th 2017, and will go to December 21, 2017 at 5pm. Earlier this summer, we held our first public consultations on the Professional Standards, which occurred over seven weeks in July and August. You can see the comments from the first round here. You can also see the timeline for the creation and implementation of the Professional Standards here.
Q: What’s happening next? How will these standards be implemented?
A: The consultation goes to December 21st, so you can comment anytime between now and then. We’re also holding a Member Education Day on November 1st, and we’re inviting members to come and share their thoughts on the day. If you can’t join us in person, please participate through our webcast.
After the consultation closes, we’ll take time to consider all feedback and incorporate changes in the Professional Standards document where appropriate. In March 2018, the College Council will approve the final document, and Professional Standards will come into force in June 2018. You can view our timeline for implementation here.
While our approach to regulation has changed, it won’t necessarily alter the way midwives work today. Implementing the proposed changes will be relatively easy providing midwives continue to exercise sound professional and clinical judgment, and apply their knowledge and skills in the best ways possible in compliance with the legislation and regulations that govern their practice.
Q: Which standards are being rescinded, and what’s the rationale behind rescinding certain standards?
In our first round of consultation, we heard from some members that they were concerned about specific standards being rescinded. We’ve addressed these concerns in our response paper, which you can read here.
Q: What did you learn from the first consultation?
A: We reviewed answers to the open-ended questions in both the survey and the website and, in combination with the letters and e-mails, identified some key issues and concerns. From this analysis, the following key themes emerged:
Q: Has the Professional Standards document changed from the first consultation period?
A: Yes, we’ve taken all feedback into consideration and changed our Professional Standards document where appropriate. You can read the updated document here. Where we have made changes to the Professional Standards, additions are shown in purple and deletions have a strikethrough. We’ve also responded to all feedback we received in our response paper, which you can read here.
Q: I’d like to share my feedback, but I want to make sure it counts. What are you doing with feedback received in this round of consultation?
A: All feedback is incredibly important to us, and helps us to shape our Professional Standards document.
If you like the general direction of the document but don’t want to leave a long and detailed comment, that’s still helpful. Just comment to let us know you think we’re on the right track, and we can use that feedback too.