Paul is a midwife manager working on a very busy postnatal ward. The ward is very short staffed and he feels that resources are overstretched resulting in midwives cutting corners, deteriorating standards of record keeping and women being sent home too early due to pressure on beds. Paul has reported this to his line manager but has been told that in the current economic climate there is nothing that can be done. Paul informs his line manager that he is planning to go to the media to express his concerns about care in the unit if conditions do not improve. On the next shift Paul refuses to take any more women and babies from the labour ward as he feels the ward is too busy and short staffed.
In certain circumstances we are called to account for our actions or failures to act in a moral, legal or completely neutral capacity (Dooley et al, 2005). Accountability is fundamental for the protection of the public and individuals under the care of midwives. The term accountability is often misunderstood in practice. It is essential that all midwives understand what the term accountability means as it is the means by which the law imposes standards and boundaries on professional practice. The authorities that hold midwives to account can demand they justify their acts and omissions at any time throughout their career. Accountability also encompasses midwives competence and integrity. “To be accountable is to be answerable for your acts and omissions” (Griffith, 2011).
Accountability is the means by which these errors don’t go unpunished and that the victims of these errors have the option of redress. The main purpose of holding midwives to account for their actions is to ensure that the expectant mothers and their babies are not harmed by any acts or omissions. It is also to provide redress to those who have been harmed by a midwife. There is another function for accountability in midwifery; it acts as a deterrent for midwives. It...