Calls for a new law to force independent midwives to have indemnity insurance in order to practise have been made following the misconduct trial of a Brighton-based private midwife.
While NHS midwives are insured by their trusts, independent midwives are not required to have insurance cover. There are therefore currently no insurance companies in the UK offering insurance to cover practising independent midwives.
The calls for a change in the law come after the Nursing and Midwifery Council struck an independent midwife from their register for gross misconduct during a home birth she had been paid £3000 to supervise.
"Either independent midwives should not be working, or they should be forced to obtain insurance," said Victoria Anderson, 30, who was left needing reconstructive surgery after the birth of her daughter, Daisy, as a result of failures by her independent midwife. Daisy, 5, also suffers Erb's palsy as a result of the traumatic birth. "We want to change the law to ensure this doesn't happen again," added Victoria.
Currently, mums-to-be having private births sign a disclaimer before the birth but if the baby is born damaged as a result of the midwife's negligence, there is no financial recompense through an insurance company. This would mean the independent midwife was liable for any payout to the mum, which is therefore unlikely to be a large amount.