Nova Scotia Moving Closer to Regulating Midwifery

Department of Health (To Jan. 11)

June 25, 1999 9:36 AM

The Department of Health will start drafting legislation over the
summer for regulating midwifery in Nova Scotia. It will also form
an implementation committee to establish a midwifery regulatory

Health Minister Jim Smith today announced the two newest
developments in regulating midwifery in response to a recently
completed report, Recommendations for the Regulation and
Implementation of Midwifery in Nova Scotia. The report was
prepared by the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Midwifery

The report, complied after extensive research and discussions
during the past year, proposes a framework for moving forward
with developing regulations for midwives as primary health care

The working group's recommendations include:
- recognizing midwifery as an autonomous self-regulated primary
health care profession included as an insured service
- enacting midwifery legislation to regulate the practice in Nova
- ensuring the education requirement is a direct-entry
baccalaureate in midwifery
- government financially supporting the education of midwives in
a manner similar to the education of other health care
- establishing a college of midwives of Nova Scotia to regulate
the profession and administer the legislation; appointing an
implementation council to establish the college
- government funding the initial assessment

"Staff will start moving forward with two of the working group's
recommendations while they continue to review the report over the
summer," said Dr. Smith. "The working group put forward many
solid recommendations for the department's consideration. We now
must give them a thorough review to determine the best route to

The minister established the working group in January 1998 to
follow up another report, titled The Potential for Midwifery in
Nova Scotia, prepared in 1997 by the Reproductive Care Program of
Nova Scotia on behalf of the Department of Health.

"I would like to acknowledge the effort and dedication
demonstrated by the working group," said Brenda Montgomery, chair
of the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Midwifery Regulation.
"With its expertise, wisdom and experience, the membership has
produced a document that paves the way for improved maternity
care in Nova Scotia, and also represents the next step in
securing an important element of choice for women and their

The working group was asked to recommend feasible legislative
options for regulating the practice of midwifery within an
integrated primary health care system. The group comprised
representatives from the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives,
Midwifery Coalition of Nova Scotia, Registered Nurses Association
of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Medical Society, College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, IWK Grace Health Centre
and other key stakeholders.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

     Health officials in Nova Scotia are starting the process

of drafting legislation to regulate midwifery.

     The department is also forming a committee that will

create a midwifery regulatory body in the province.

     Health Minister Jim Smith says the moves are in response

to recommendations from a working group on midwifery.

     Legislation and a regulatory body for midwives are

among two of the recommendations that came out of a

report of the working group.


Contact: Sue McKeage
         Department of Health

arc                      June 25, 1999                 9:22 a.m.