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A change to EU law is posing a threat to the jobs of independent midwives
THE CITY’S only independent midwife says her livelihood is under threat due to changes in the law.
Meg Miskin is one of only two midwives based in Oxfordshire to offer parents-to-be an alternative to the NHS.
But she says a new European law due to come into force in October that requires midwives to have insurance will mean she can no longer practise with an indemnity.
The mother-of-two said she had never been able to get an insurance quote due to the small number of independent midwives across the country and the perceived risk of high payouts.
She said: “We have been searching for adequate insurance for more than 20 years.
“We haven’t legally had to have insurance before, we have simply had to inform our clients we don’t have it.
“Our clients don’t see insurance as a way of ensuring a safe birth. Our clients prefer things don’t go wrong in the first place.”
But Ms Miskin, of Victoria Road in Summertown, said parents would miss out if a solution was not found.
She said: “The NHS is understaffed. Midwives are very pushed to give good care and are limited to the kind of support they can give.
“A lot of women who choose to give birth outside of the hospital find they are unsupported.”
She also said independent midwives offered women continuity throughout their pregnancy and birth, adding: “Using a known midwife is what draws women more than anything.”
Ms Miskin, 54, charges £3,500 to help prepare for the birth, deliver the baby and care afterwards.
She worked as a midwife for the NHS in Oxford for 16 years before becoming independent eight years ago. She now delivers more than 10 babies a year – usually in home births.
And on Monday she delivered a baby doll to 10 Downing Street in a bid to get support from the Prime Minister.
The baby had been taken across the country in a three-day relay involving independent midwives and their supporters.
Ms Miskin said the organisation Independent Midwives UK was hoping to find a solution to the problem but would need Government support, adding: “With the right kind of support I am confident I will be practising this time next year. If a solution is not found, that will be my midwifery career over.”
The county’s other independent midwife, Liz Nightingale, from Long Wittenham, yesterday said it was too difficult to get covered, adding: “What I would like is for the Government to underwrite a policy for us.”
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