Midwives Act 1902
It regulated the profession of midwifery, requiring certification for midwives and providing a penalty for any woman practising midwifery without certification, with the exception of legally qualified medical practitioners or those giving assistance in emergencies. However, it emphasised that this certification was not certification as a "medical practitioner", nor did it give standing under the Medical Acts.
The Act established a Central Midwives Board, which would regulate the issue of certificates and keep a central register of midwives, as well as regulating any courses of training or examinations, providing a means for the suspension of practitioners, and generally supervising the effective running of the profession.
Power to supervise midwives on the local level was given to county and borough councils, who were to report any suspected malpractice to the Board, along with the name of any practising midwife convicted of an offence, and generally to keep records of the local practitioners. These powers could be delegated to a district council (or London metropolitan borough councils).
Any woman certified under the Act was to notify her local supervisory authority of her intention to practice each year, on penalty of a fine for any failure to submit a notification or any omission of information on it.
Any false representations to obtain a certificate, or any attempts to falsify an entry on the roll of midwives, were a misdemeanour, to be penalised by imprisonment for up to a year with or without hard labour.
The Act did not extend to Scotland or to Ireland, and did not in any way apply to qualified medical practitioners. It was repealed by the Midwives Act 1951, although the Board continued to supervise midwifery. In 1983, the Nursing and Midwifery Council took over the duties that the Board had previously executed.
- The Public General Acts Passed in the Second Year of the Reign of His Majesty King Edward the Seventh. London: printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1902.
- Chronological table of the statutes; HMSO, London. 1993.