Midwifery Act


Published: 1959

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Midwifeery (CAP. 281 1

CHAPTER 281

T H E MIDWIFERY ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Constitution of Midwives' Board.
4. Meetings of the Board.
5. Secretary to the Board.
6. Midwives' register.
7 . Prescribed training.
8. Qualification for registration.
9. Application for registration.

10. Certificate of registration and fees.
11. Registration not to confer rights of qualified medical

practitioner.
12. Notice of intention to practise.
13. Service of medical practitioner or registered midwife to

be obtained at confinement.
14. Removal from the register.
15. Appeal against removal from the register.
16. Surrender of certificate on removal from the register.
17. Prohibition against practice of any form of midwifery

on removal from the register.
18. Midwives' districts.
19. Supervision of midwives.
20. Duties of midwives employed in the Government service.
21. Payment of midwives.
22. Unlawful assumption of title of registered midwife.
23. Practising as a midwife without registration.
24. Offences connected with certification.
25. Registration fees to be paid into revenue.
26. Penalty.
27. Power to make rules.
28. Rules of court for regulating appeals.
29. Saving.

FIRST SCHEDULE.
SECOND SCHEDULE.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Midwqey (CAP. 281 3

MIDWIFERY

(10th June, 1959.) 711958.
1811989.

S.I. 3911989.

1. This Act may be cited as the Midwifery Act. short title.

2. In this Act- Interpretation.

"the Board" means the Midwives' Board constituted
under this Act;

"registered" means registered under this Act and
"registered midwife" shall be construed
accordingly;

"the register" means the register of midwives directed
to be kept under this Act;

"the Secretary" means the person for the time being
appointed as Secretary to the Board under section 5.

3. (1) For the purposes of this Act there shall be Constitution of
Midwives'

established a Board to be known as the Midwives' Board Board.
which shall consist of-

(a) the chief medical officer who shall be chairman
of the Board;

(b) the nursing sister performing the duties of
matron of the Holberton Hospital;

(c) the nursing sister, if any, performing the duties
of midwifery tutor sister at the Holberton Hospital;

(6) two other members appointed by the Governor-
General who shall hold office for such period as the
Governor-General may determine.

(2) Each person so appointed shall be either a medical
practitioner registered under the Medical Act, or any person Cap. 269.
entitled to be registered under section 8.

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4 CAP. 281) Midw ifeery

(3) The Governor-General may from time to time
remove any member appointed to the Board and appoint
another member in his place and may fill any vacancy which
may arise by reason of the illness, death or absence from
Anti&a and Barbuda of any member, or for any other cause.

(4) Any person appointed to be a member of the Board,
other than a person in the service of Government, may resign
his appointment by letter addressed to the Governor-General.

(5) The appointment, removal or resignation of any
member of the Board shall be published in the Gazette.

Meetings of the
Board.

4. (1) The Board shall assemble whenever required
by the Minister or convened by its chairman or at such time
as the Board may fix by rules made under this Act.

(2) In the absence of the chairman at any meeting the
members present shall elect a presiding chairman for that
meeting.

(3) Three members of the Board shall constitute a
quorum. Subject thereto the Board may act notwithstanding
any vacancy in its number.

(4) Decisions of the Board may be taken at meetings
or, in cases in which the chairman shall so direct, by the
recording of the opinions of the members on papers circulated
among them:

Provided that where papers are circulated-

(a) the chairman may direct that the papers shall
not to be circulated to any member who through illness,
interest, absence from Antigua and Barbuda or other-
wise is, in the opinion of the chairman, incapacitated
from voting on such papers; and

(6 ) a decision shall not be acted upon unless it is
unanimous.

(5) The decisions of the Board at a meeting shall be
by the majority of votes:

Provided that, in the event of an equal division of the
votes on any question before a meeting of the Board, the

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Midwfery (CAP. 281 5

chairman presiding at that meeting shall have a casting vote
in addition to his original vote.

5. The Governor-General may appoint some fit and Secretary the
Board.

proper person to be Secretary of the Board who shall perform
such duties as the Board may direct.

6. (1)The Board shall keep a register of midwives Midwives'
register.

which shall be subject to and in accordance with the
provisions of this Act.

(2) The register shall contain the names of all midwives
registered under this Act.

(3) The Secretary shall be charged with the custody of
the register.

(4) Every entry on the register shall indicate the
qualifications by virtue of which registration was granted
in addition to the name and address of the person registered.

(5) The names and addresses of all persons included
in the register shall be published in the months of January
and July in each year in the Gazette and in not less than two
newspapers published in Antigua and Barbuda.

(6) In any proceedings a copy of the Gazette containing
the most recent list of names in the register shall be prima
facie evidence, and a certificate under the hand of the
chairman of the Board shall be conclusive evidence that the
persons named in the list or certificate are, or are not,
registered under this Act.

7. (1) No applicant shall be admitted to the register ~~~~~d
unless she shall have undergone the prescribed training.

.(2) The training of midwives shall be carried out in an
idtution approved by the Board.

8. (1) The following persons shall be entitled to be Qualification for
registration.

registered under this Act upon making application to the
Board in the prescribed manner, and upon satisfying the
Board as to their identity and good character and upon
payment of the fee for registration under this Act.

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6 CAP. 281) Midwifeery

(a) any woman who holds a certificate issued by
the Board under this Act;

( b ) any woman who has passed the first
examination of the Central Midwives' Board of England
under the rules of that Board; or

(c) any woman who produces a certificate of
proficiency in midwifery issued by an institution in
Antigua and Barbuda recognized by the Board as
competent to carry out the prescribed training and to
issue such certificate; or

(6) any woman who produces satisfactory evidence
that she has been certified or registered as a midwife
in any country outside Antigua and Barbuda in which
there is for the time being any law in force for the
certification or registration of midwives and the Board
is satisfied that the standard of training and examination
required in that country is not lower than the standard
of training and examination required under this Act:

Provided that when the Board is not so satisfied,
such woman shall be required to pass such examina-
tion as the Board may direct.

(2) The Board may require any applicant for regis-
tration under this Act to undergo a medical examination and
to furnish a medical certificate of health.

Application for
registration.

9. (1) Any woman desiring to be registered as a mid-
wife under this Act shall lodge an application in writing with - - -
the Secretary containing full particulars of her qualification
and the Secretary shall forthwith submit such application
to the Board.

(2) The Board shall, within fourteen days after the
receipt of an application by the Secretary, consider the same
and may either grant or refuse the application without
assigning any reason for its refusal.

Certificate of 10. (1) O n any application being granted and upon
registration and
fees. the applicant paying to the Secretary the sum of fifty cents,

the name of the applicant shall be entered on the register
and the Board shall grant a certificate of registration in the

First Schedule. form set out in the First Schedule.

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Midw@ry (CAP. 281 7

(2) There shall be paid to the Secretary of the Board
in respect of every application to be registered under this
Act and in respect of the retention in any year of the name
of any person on the register, a fee of fifty cents.

(3) Should any person whose name is on the register
fail, on or before the fifteenth day of January, to pay the
annual fee chargeable for the retention of her name upon
the register, the Board shall delete her name from the register.

(4) Any name which has been deleted from the register
under subsection (3) shall be replaced on the register upon
payment to the Board by the person whose name has been
deleted of a fee of one dollar:

Provided that before such name is replaced on the
register the Board may demand that the said person shall
apply for registration under the provisions of section 8.

(5) The Board may charge for any certificate or other
document issued by them, or in respect of any services
performed by them, such fees as may be prescribed.

1 . Registration under this Act shall not confer upon Registration not
to confer rights

any woman any right to assume any name, title or "foualified .- 1- -----
de;ignation that &e isVby law authorized to practice medicine ;;z;;oner.
or surgery or to grant any medical certificate or any certificate
of death or still birth or to undertake any case of abnormality
or disease in connection with childbirth.

12. (1) Every midwife shall, before commencing to Notice of
~ntention to

practise or holding herself out to practise, give notice of her practise.
intention to do so to the Secretary.

(2) Any midwife who fails to comply with the provisions
of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

13. (1) It shall be the duty of the husband, and where ~ ~ ~ ~ ; , ~ f
a man and woman who are unmarried are living together practitioner or
in the same house or room as husband and wife it shall be :$;:dto be
the duty of such man, to secure the attendance of a duly obtained at
qualified medical practitioner or a registered midwife at the confinement.
confinement of his wife or such woman, as the case may
be, and the failure on the part of such husband or man to
secure such attendance shall be an offence under this Act.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

CAP. 281) Midwifery

(2) It shall be the duty of an unmarried woman, except
where such woman and man are living together in the same
house or room as husband and wife, to secure the attendance
of a duly qualified medical practitioner or a registered mid-
wife at her confinement, and the failure on the part of such
woman to secure such attendance shall be an offence under
this Act.

(3) It shall be a defence to any charge under this section
(the burden of proof of which defence shall be on the person
charged) to show that the person charged made every
reasonable effort to secure the attendance of a duly qualified
medical practitioner or a registered midwife at the
confinement.

Removal from
the register.

14. (1) It shall be lawful for the Board to order to
be removed from the register the name of any person
registered as a midwife who-

(a) has shown herself to be incompetent or
negligent; or

(6) has at any time failed to satisfy any person or
persons appointed by the Board to examine her that
she is capable of discharging the duties of a midwife; or

(G) has been convicted of any felony, misdemeanour
or other serious offence; or

(d) is of bad character; or

( e ) is by reason of age or infirmity or any other
cause unfit to discharge the duties of midwife.

(2) It shall be the duty of every district medical officer
and every medical practitioner as soon as he becomes aware
that any registered midwife is unfit to discharge the duties
of a midwife to give notice thereof to the Board.

(3) For the purpose of paragraph (6) of subsection (I) ,
it shall be lawful for the Board to appoint any person or
persons to examine any registered midwife as to her ability
or fitness to discharge the duties of a midwife, and if in the
opinion of the Board the result of any such examination
justifies the removal of her name from the register, the Board
shall order her name to be so removed.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Midwifeery (CAP. 281 9

(4) The Board shall, upon the application in writing
of any midwife registered under this Act or on the death
of any midwife so registered, remove the name of such mid-
wife from the register.

15. Any midwife who considers herself aggrieved by
the removal of her name from the register may, within such register.
time as may be prescribed, appeal against such removal to
a Judge in Chambers, whose decision shall be final.

16. Any midwife whose name has been ordered to Surrender of
certificate on be removed from the register under the provisions of this removal from the

Act shall within fourteen days of the notice of such order register.
being served upon her surrender to the Secretary the
certificate of registration issued to her by the Board, and
failure to do so shall be an offence under this Act.

17. (1) When the Board has decided to remove from Prohibition
against ractice

the register the name of any midwife, it may in addition any &,,
prohibit her from attending women in childbirth in any other g:r:2rz; the
capacity, but such decision shall be subject to the like appeal register.
as the decision to remove her name from the register.

(2) Any person who contravenes any prohibition as
aforesaid shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

18. (1) The Cabinet may by order divide Antigua Midwives'
districts.

and Barbuda into midwives' districts, and such order shall
define the limits of every such district.

(2) Until otherwise provided by the Cabinet the
midwives' districts shall be those shown in the Second Second
Schedule.

(3) The Governor-General may appoint such number
of registered midwives as shall be deemed fit to each such
district, and they shall receive salary as may be provided
out of the general revenue of Antigua and Barbuda.

(4) Every midwife so appointed shall reside within the
limits of her district and except in an emergency, shall not
attend a case beyond the limits of her district without the
permission of a supervisory authority.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

10 CAP. 281) Midwifery
5

Supervision of
midwives. 19. It shall be lawful for the Board to appoint any

fit and proper person to be a supervisory authority over any
registered midwife, or class of registered midwives, and it
shall be the duty of every person so appointed-

(a) to exercise supervision in accordance with any
rules made under this Act;

(b) to investigate charges of malpractice or
negligence, and, should a prima fuie case be established,
to make a report to the Board;

( 6 ) to suspend from practice any registered mid-
wife if such suspension appears necessary in order to
prevent the spread of infection, and to report
immediately such suspension to the Board;

(4 to report at once to the Board the name of any
registered midwife convicted of any offence; and

(e) as soon as she becomes aware that any registered
midwife is unfit to discharge the duties of a midwife,
to give notice thereof to the Board.

Duties of
midwives 20. The duties of every midwife who is employed in
employed in the the Government service shall be-
Government
service. (a) to attend all cases of labour or threatened

miscarriage or abortion within her district who have sent
for her assistance;

( 6 ) to report immediately to the medical officer of
the district all cases within her district which require
his assistance;

(6) to act as sick nurse in all cases when required
by the district medical officer to do so;

(4 to attend the medical officer of the district on
his periodical visits to her district and to report to him
all cases which she has attended since his last visit;

(e) to keep a general supervision over the children
within her district and to report to the district medical
officer all cases of illness occurring among them; and

Cf) to keep at her residence all such medicines and
appliances as the chief medical officer may deem
necessary to supply her with.

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Midwifeery (CAP. 281 11

21. A midwife shall not in any emergency refuse Payment of
midwives. assistance in default of prepayment, but shall be entitled

subsequently to demand and recover from the person to
whom her services have been rendered compensation in
accordance with the scale of fees for the time being in force.

22. Every person who- Unlawful
assumption of

(a) not being a midwife registered under this Act, gfi,";fr;gistered
uses the title of midwife either alone or in combination
with other words or letters, or uses any name, title,
addition, description, uniform or badge implying that
she is registered under this Act or is recognized by law
as a registered midwife or uses any title, uniform or
badge prescribed for the use of midwives registered
under this Act; or

( b ) with intent to deceive makes use of any cer-
tificate of registration issued under this Act to her or
to any other person,

shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

23. (1) No person shall habitually or for gain attend ~ ; ~ ~ ~ ; ~ h , " u t
women in childbirth unless such person is either- registration.

(a) a duly qualified medical practitioner; or

( b ) registered as a midwife under this Act.

(2) Any person contravening these provisions shall be
guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six
months:

Provided that nothing in subsection ( 1 ) shall apply to
a person rendering assistance in a case where the services
of a duly qualified medical practitioner or registered mid-
wife are not readily available.

24. Any person who- Offences
connected with

(a) procures or attempts to procure registration or certification^
a certificate of registration by making, producing or
causing to be made or produced any false or fraudulent
declaration, in writing or otherwise; or

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

12 CAP. 281) Midw ifeery

( b ) wilfully makes or causes to be made any
falsification in any matter relative to the register,

shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable
on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six
months.

Registration fees 25. All fees received by the Secretary shall be
to be paid into
revenue. forthwith paid into the general revenue of Antigua and

Barbuda.

Penalty. 26. Every offence under this Act for which no penalty
is specifically provided by this Act shall be punishable on
summary conviction by a fine not exceeding five hundred
dollars or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding three
months.

Power to make
rules.

27. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Board
shall have power to make rules with respect to-

(a) regulating its own proceedings;

(b) the formation, maintenance and publication of
the register;

(6) prescribing the course of training and regulating
the conduct of examinations for midwives, and any
matters ancillary to or connected with any such
examinations including the examiners;

(d) the issue and prescribing of the form of
certificates to midwives and with respect to the titles
which may be used and the uniforms or badges which
may be worn by registered midwives;

(e) regulating the practice of midwifery and the fees
payable to registered midwives;

(f) defining the conditions under which registered
midwives may be suspended from practice;

(g) anything which is considered necessary for the
purpose of carrying this Act into effect; and

(h) anything which under this Act is to be
prescribed.

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Midw $cry (CAP. 281 13

(2) All such rules shall be signed by the chairman and
submitted to the Cabinet for approval, and if so approved
shall be published in the Gazette and thereupon shall have
the force and effect of law.

28. Provision may be made by rules of court for El;;a;Lyt
regulating appeals to a Judge under this Act, and such rules appeals.
shall provide for-

(a) limiting the time within which an appeal may
be brought and the determination of any appeal under
this Act;

(6) requiring notice of any such appeal to be given
to the Board; and

(c) the manner in which the Board may appear and
be heard on any appeal.

29. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) Saving,
of section 8 any midwife who has been licensed under the
provisions of the Medical and Poor Relief Ordinance 1899,
and whose licence thereunder has not been cancelled at the
date of the commencement of this Act, shall be entitled to
be registered under this Act if she satisfies the Board that
she is competent, and her certificate or licence shall be deemed
to have been granted under the provisions of this Act:

Provided that any midwife who has been licensed under
the provisions of the Medical and Poor Relief Ordinance,
1899, and whose registration or licence thereunder has not
been cancelled at the date of the commencement of this Act,
may continue to practise until the date of publication of the
register of midwives provided for under section 6.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

14 CAP. 281) Midwifery

FIRST SCHEDULE S. lO(1)

MIDWIVES' BOARD

Antigua and Barbuda

.............................................. This is to certify that
.................................................... of having satisfied the

Board that she is duly qualified has been admitted to the register
of midwives pursuant to the Midwifery Act, and is authorized
to practise as a midwife within Antigua and Barbuda.

By Order of the Board.

Secretary

SECOND SCHEDULE S. 18(2)

MIDWIVES' DISTRICTS

District Localities
No.

1. Jennings, Cedar Hall, Green Hill, Ebenezer.
2. Bolans, Roses, Hermitage, Blubber Valley, Orange Valley,

Dark Valley, Ffry's Estate.
3. Sawcolts, Folly's Hill, John Hughes, Wallings.
4. Seaview Farm, Simon's Village.
5. Swetes, Buckleys, Matthews, Tyrells.
6. Bethesda, Christian Hill, Delaps, Morris Looby's, Little

Duers, Blakes.
7. Newfield, Lavington, Long Lane, Ffry's, Collins, Lyons,

Gaynor's St. Phillips.
8. Johnson's Point, Urlings, Crabbe Hill.
9. Old Road, Green Hill, Grace Bay Hill, Fairfield.

10. A11 Saints.
11. Liberta, Table Hill Gordon.
12. English Harbour, Falmouth, Cobbs Cross.
13. Cedar Grove.
14. Blizzards, Barnes Hill, Powells, Cassada Garden.
15. Grays Farm, Golden Grove, Creek Side, Nut Grove, Ottos

Pasture.
16. Pigotts, Paynter's, Fitches Creek, Weirs, Blackman's,

Donovans.
17. St. John's (i) North side of High Street and area north

to Villa area.

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Midwqery (CAP. 281 15

District Localities
No.
18. St. John's (ii) South side of High Street and area south

to Ottos.
19. Green Bay, Five Islands, Cooke's Hill, Grays Hill, Grays,

Kentish Village, Yeptons.
20. Willikies, Rooms, Syne Estate, Comfort Hall.
21. Seatons, Elliotts, Carr's Estate, Glanvilles.
22. Parham Village, Parham New Works, Gilbert's, Cottons.
23. Pares Village, Betty's Hope, Diamonds.
24. Freetown, Montpelier.
25. Potters Village, Jeffrey's Village, Factory Road,

Tomlinsons Estate Road.
26. St. Johnston's Village, Clare Hall, Parham Road.
27. Freeman's Village, Willis Freeman's, Belleview, Jonas.
28. Barbuda.
29. Bendals, Belvedere, Hamiltons, Brecknocks, Body Ponds,

Green Castle.

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