Objective:This study evaluated women's perceptions of a new community-based model of continuity of antenatal care, the St George Outreach Maternity Project (STOMP). The model was established in an attempt to address some of the ongoing concerns and criticisms regarding antenatal care in Australia: lack of continuity of care and caregiver; prolonged waiting times; and inaccessible clinics.
Methods:A randomised controlled trial was conducted with 1,089 women (550 in the experimental group and 539 in the control group). The experimental group (the STOMP group) received antenatal care from small teams of midwives and an obstetrician in community-based settings. Data were collected using a questionnaire administered at 36 weeks' gestation, with a response rate of 75%.
Results:Women in the STOMP group reported waiting significantly less time for antenatal visits with easier access to care. STOMP group women also reported a higher perceived ‘quality’ of antenatal care compared with the control group. STOMP group women saw slightly more midwives and fewer doctors than control group women did.
Conclusion and implications:This model of care has implications for the planning and provision of antenatal services within the Australian public health system, which is increasingly moving towards a community-based emphasis. Antenatal care is a service that can be successfully transferred into community-based settings with benefits for women.