New guidelines for integrated care for pregnant women

Pregnant Western Australian women will have more flexibility, choice and continuity of care thanks to the development and implementation of antenatal shared care models and processes for the state’s maternity care providers.

New State-wide Maternity Shared Care Guidelines, developed by the State-wide Obstetric Support Unit in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and its King Edward Memorial Hospital Liaison GP, detail how GPs, midwives, private health care professionals and birthing hospitals will work together to provide joint care to pregnant women.

WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager Primary Care Innovation and Development Bernadette Kenny said shared care represented an opportunity to practice collaborative holistic maternity care.

“The new state-wide maternity shared care guidelines provide a model for collaboration, ensuring that women receive broad-based, comprehensive, evidence-based care before during and after pregnancy.  GPs hold the existing therapeutic relationship with women and are key to ensuring care is continuous and gold standard.”

“Our hospital liaison GPs play an important role in ensuring primary care is embedded into shared care models such as this one which combines the varied skills of all health professionals involved in a pregnant woman’s care.”

The Guidelines will provide direction for GPs, midwives and other maternity health care providers working within the Western Australian public health system when caring for women who make the informed choice to have their antenatal care provided within a shared care arrangement.

This project followed requests from clinicians across the state and workshops held in 2018, and were developed using evidence-based, contemporary professional practice standards and outline the minimum clinical care required by maternity shared care providers.

The Guidelines aim to enhance the skills of GPs, midwives and private health care professionals, promote communication and provide best practice clinical guidelines for antenatal care and clear referral pathways.

These Guidelines are underpinned by the National Clinical Practice Guidelines for Pregnancy Care (2018) and should be used in conjunction with existing Health Service Provider Guidelines.

They are the default guideline in the absence of existing current guidelines.

Shared maternity care providers can access up to date information and resources using the embedded links within the Guidelines.