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Independent midwives UK (IMUK) today announced the launch of a pilot scheme in conjunction with the University of Greenwich which will see second year midwifery students gain experience of caseloading alongside an independent midwife.

Following the application process, six students have been selected for the pilot and will spend 190 hours over a period of up to 18 months accompanying and observing independent midwives supporting women at antenatal appointments, during labour and up to four weeks postnatally.

The placement has been co designed by IMUK and The University of Greenwich in order for students to experience caseloading /continuity of carer, one of the key recommendations of the National Maternity Review.

IMUK Chair Jacqui Tomkins said: “It’s exciting because it’s the first of its kind.  Independent midwives are already able to provide the kind of care which is proven to be optimum and it’s important that the midwives of tomorrow experience that and know what a difference it makes.  The feedback from students so far has been that the experience has been invaluable”.

Heather Bower, Lead Midwife for Education at the University of Greenwich said: “We are so excited to be leading on this partnership with IMUK. Having been a case loading midwife for many years, alongside my lecturing role, I am committed to ensuring midwifery students experience this model of care.  According to our professional regulations, all midwifery students must caseload during their programme, yet this model of care is rare within the NHS. Independent midwives in the UK provide the best role models for continuity of care and as advocates for women. We are delighted to be pioneering this project and hope that other universities around the UK may also form partnerships with IMUK for the benefit of many more midwifery students. ”