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Keywords:

  • healthcare reforms;
  • maternity;
  • pregnancy;
  • professional collaboration

Background

Enhancing collaboration has been highlighted as a marker for future success in maternity care, although this suggestion comes with little methodological guidance. This study assessed the efficacy of a collaborative partnership between obstetric doctors and midwives providing Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) care.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was undertaken with notes from weekly case review meetings held between the obstetricians and midwives over a 12-month period; audio recordings and a prospective analysis of 16 meetings with verbal contributions of the different professions; the number and types of cases discussed and referred, medical records kept at these meetings and a professional satisfaction questionnaire. Consistency of care was measured against the Australian National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral.

Results

Of the 337 women booked with MGP, 50% were discussed at least once. Of these, 35% were referred for consultation with an obstetrician. Women as ‘Patients’ were most commonly discussed, followed by educational discussions and anecdotes with equal verbal contributions from midwives and doctors. Plans for each case were recorded 97% of the time, and adhered to 90% of the time. A high level of consistency of care between similar cases (75% of the time) and with the consultation and referral guidelines (85% of the time) were achieved. Professional satisfaction with this model of care rated highly for both groups.

Conclusion

Inter-professional collaboration between midwifery and obstetric staff is highly attainable within this model of care. This study reinforces the effectiveness of collaboration in the MGP model of care for women of all risk levels and should encourage other maternity care providers to consider adopting this collaborative model.