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First national survey of diabetes training needs for midwives

By Editor
4th June 2018

More than 85 per cent of midwives recognise the need for education to improve their care of pregnant women with diabetes, a survey has found.

The finding came from the first national survey of the diabetes education and training needs of midwives in the UK, ‘Diabetes Care in Pregnancy: A midwife education needs analysis’.

It was commissioned by Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD) because, along with The Royal College of Midwives, the body believes there may be a need for the development of a training programme for midwives.

The results were based on information gathered from 120 NHS trusts by means of a Freedom of Information request and on 698 responses to a questionnaire sent to more than 30,000 midwives on The Royal College of Midwives mailing list.

The conclusions of the report include:

  1. Midwives recognise the need for education to improve their care of pregnant women with diabetes.
  2. Midwives felt that there was an educational need around general responsibilities as well as for those who work in a more specialised role, including lead midwife for diabetes. The educational needs of the various groups require courses with different content, even when dealing with the same subject matter.
  3. Midwives’ responses confirmed that they had completed a range of different diploma, degree and masters level courses, which included elements of the management of diabetes in pregnancy including: high-risk midwifery courses, general diabetes management courses, prescribing courses and their midwifery degree courses. However, Warwick and Cardiff were the only universities cited that had offered specific stand-alone ‘diabetes in pregnancy’ courses. The respondents to the questionnaire, including 80 diabetes lead midwives, felt they needed further accredited training, including in insulin initiation and titration. The perceived need for further training was independent of their self-expressed confidence and competence.
  4. Midwives of all backgrounds believe that diabetes lead midwives provide a higher standard of care and improved outcomes, as well as giving better continuity and consistency of care.
  5. A strong case can be made for three levels of training: a) general training on the principles and identification of diabetes as well as initial management, b) extended diabetes training suitable for midwives working in high risk areas who are not leads in diabetes, c) in-depth training for diabetes lead midwives in the supervision and management of diabetes management including insulin initiation and treatment, which would give them accredited qualifications in the non-medical prescribing of diabetes medications including insulin.

The survey is the result of work pioneered by Dr Alban Davies Huw with contributions from Dr Umesh Dashora, Dr Shelley Bennett, Anne Goodchild, Julia Hugason-Briem, Gail Johnson, Abigail Kitt, Annette Schreiner, Diane Todd and Jennifer Yiallouros.

To read the report, click here.

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