The maximum number of midwives a supervisor can support will increased from 15 to 20 under a new system developed by NHS England.
Replacing a previous system overseen by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the Advocating for Education and Quality Improvement (A-EQUIP) model is being introduced after statutory supervision was revoked on 1 April.
Supervisors – now to be known as professional midwifery advocates (PMAs) – should be responsible for between five and 20 midwives. NHS England guidance said they may work on a ‘sessional basis’, providing supervision but not employed full time. They will receive no extra pay.
A-EQUIP’s introduction has been broadly welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), suggesting it may give supervisors ‘greater flexibility’.
Head of education Carmel Lloyd said: ‘Under the new model, some of the more time-consuming parts of the role have been removed. Whenever you introduce a new model there is always a risk, particularly moving from a statutory to a non-statutory framework.
‘The RCM will be monitoring this new model to see how it is working and the extent to which it is implemented by the trusts in England and also how the differing models have been implemented across the UK. We have also asked the government to report on progress across the UK in a year’s time.’
It will be up to employers to decide the details of implementation.
Under A-EQUIP, supervisors would now no longer be responsible for investigating midwives and they will no longer be required to give such intensive support to women by being available 24/7.
The RCM has said it will monitor the move from statutory to non-statutory to ensure the system is working for midwives.