John is a midwife working in the same hospital where a friend’s ex-wife had recently given birth.

Although John was not involved in the care of the women, he accessed information about her and her baby. Without her consent, John then provided the information to his friend. 

The woman was no longer in contact with her ex-husband and later discovered he had been provided with her confidential information. The woman reported the incident to the hospital. 

Applying the Code of conduct for midwives 

  • Look through the principles in the Code of Conduct.  Which principles apply to this case, and why?


When John was approached about the breach of confidentiality, he was remorseful and admitted his error. He acknowledged that his conduct was unsatisfactory and fell below that expected in the Code of conduct for midwives, particularly in that he: 

• accessed confidential records about a woman when there was no professional need to do so, and 

• did not respect the privacy or confidentiality of the woman by providing confidential information about the woman to a third-party without her consent . 

John’s employer terminated his employment and made a notification (complaint) to the NMBA and it was investigated. 

John was cautioned by the NMBA as the way he had practised was unsatisfactory. To ensure John understands his future conduct requirements, he was required to complete education on ethics and confidentiality

1.2 Reflect on and recognise the effect of values, beliefs and behaviour in practice.

Case study:

Ricky is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care worker working in an Indigenous community. Sometimes he feels like he is the glue that helps two groups of people join together for a shared common purpose.  He helps people understand each other and learn about the values, belief systems and ideas that influence behaviour and feelings.  He also acts as an advocate in situations where people have been treated unfairly or discriminated against. One recent case involved the family of an Aboriginal Elder with a disability that had been asked to leave a health care and rehabilitation facility as the staff were concerned about the multiple family and community members that kept attending the patient in care.  They felt the family was disruptive, and the children were unruly. The NUM was heard to make derogatory comments about the family and their culture.  She accused the Elder of being ‘lazy’ and unwilling to participate in his rehabilitation. 

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