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Working with team midwifery: health visitors’ views of one team midwifery scheme


Morag Farguhar Institute of Public Health, University of cambridge, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2SR, England.


The fragmented nature of maternity services in the UK has led to the introduction of various forms of team midwifery scheme. The aim of such schemes is usually to increase continuity through the provision of antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care to women by a small team of midwives. Few published studies of this organization of midwifery care exist, and even fewer consider the impact of such schemes on related health professionals. This paper presents the results of an independent survey of health visitors working alongside one team midwifery scheme in the south-east of England. Eighty per cent of the health visitors thought that team midwifery was a good idea in theory; however, just 27% thought it was working well locally and 70% reported that they would like to go back to working in the way they did before the introduction of team midwifery. The survey highlighted the health visitors’ concerns in relation to team midwifery locally. Two issues were paramount: firstly a reported deterioration in interdisciplinary communications, and secondly a perceived loss of continuity for the women. Thus team midwifery, as implemented in this locality, may not attain the goals aimed at by the organization of care in this way.