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Law And Ethics: Accountability Essay

2237 words - 9 pages

Scenario 3
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 ...view middle of the document...

It discourages them from acting in a way that may be interpreted as misconduct or unlawful. “Midwives must act at all times in a manner worthy of a midwife – In work, in public, and in their private lives” (Griffith, 2011).
The terms accountability and responsibility are often used in the health care setting interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. The term accountability means being answerable to a higher authority, whereas responsibility means to have control or authority over someone or something. This highlights the necessity of midwives and other health care professionals to understand what the term accountability means.
There are different areas of accountability that midwives and health care professionals need to be aware of. Professional liability means being accountable to An Bord Altranais (ABA). ABA’s Code of Professional Conduct for each Nurse and Midwife, 2000, are the rules in which all nurses and midwives are expected to follow. Should a midwife breach any of the rules set within this code of conduct, then they leave themselves open to being held to account by ABA. They may want you to explain your acts and omissions. Within ABA’s Cod of Professional Conduct it states that a midwife should acknowledge any limitations of competence and refuses in such cases to accept delegated roles. In Paul’s case he followed this term by refusing o admit any more women onto the ward as he knew he was not competent to care for too many women. It also states that midwives share the responsibility of care with colleagues and must have regard to the workload of and the pressures on professional colleagues and that the midwife should take appropriate action if these are seen to b such as to constitute abuse of the individual practitioner and/or to jeopardise safe standards of practice. In Paul’s scenario he reported the “abuse” of his fellow midwives to his line manager. ABA would hold a fitness to practice hearing to provide discipline and if necessary punishment of midwives should they deem it necessary. A midwife can be removed from the register of midwives. If ABA decides that removal or suspension is too harsh of a punishment, then the midwife may be restricted or censured in their practice (Van Dokkum, 2005).
Accountability to the employer is the next area of accountability. When a midwife commences their job in a hospital, they are obligated to sign a contract of employment. Within this contract are the terms by which all employees are expected to abide by. By signing this contract you agree to adhere to these terms wholly. Should you breach any of these terms then your employer may call you to account to ask you to explain why this has occurred and the circumstances surrounding the breach of terms. With Paul as he has signed this contract he has also agreed to these terms. One of these terms is to provide and maintain a high standard of clinical practice at all times. Paul mentions that both he and the other midwives working on...

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