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Nursing Council says midwifery school is illegal

THE NURSING Council of Jamaica is disclaiming the authenticity of the birth centre ­ Labour of Love's claim of an International Midwifery Institute saying it was illegal.

An advertisement in Sunday's Gleaner advised the public that under the 1964 Nurses and Midwives Act, the education, training and practise of midwifery in Jamaica requires the approval of the Nursing Council whose main function was the protection of the public.

"These people are going ahead with some things which is not the correct procedure," said Audrey Hinchcliffe, chairman of the Nursing Council, "You've seen their ads on TV and in the paper, the procedure is that they must write to the Nursing Council to obtain permission to open a school."

Labour of Love recently advertised that beginning September 18, the birth centre would begin operating its International Midwifery Institute, having received permission from the Ministry of Education to establish it at St. Joseph's Hospital campus in Kingston.

"They did write to the Council in August," Mrs. Hinchcliffe admitted. "They were told that the Council was on recess and that we would be meeting in September (the meeting is this Wednesday) where we would respond to their application. In the meantime they have gone ahead doing all these things, and so because we are responsible for implementing the Nurses and Midwives Act, we are simply alerting the public that this is what the procedure is here."

Mrs Hinchcliffe stated that there were three approved midwifery schools at the Kingston School of Nursing, Victoria Jubilee Hospital; Cornwall School of Midwifery and the University Hospital of the West Indies school of midwifery. No other agency is approved by the Council to operate a training facility for midwives, without training, education and licensure approved by the Council.

"They should apply to the Nursing Council then the Council will tell them all the things they need to know," she said. "The Council has the responsibility for regulating training."

She explained that once the application was in, the Council would send them forms to fill and once they have completed this the facilities would be inspected.

"There are standard procedures that we use to inspect new applications for schools or interest in schools," she explained, "We haven't got there yet, so I don't know on what authority they are advertising."

"They have a right to do what they want to do, but we have a right to alert the public as to what the schools are."

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