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Calls for recognition of GPs’ role in maternity care


Paul Hayes


5/11/2018 9:37:31 AM

Women’s choice is being reduced as governments and hospitals increasingly shift antenatal care away from GPs, according to the RACGP.

Dr Burton says the benefit of GPs’ trusted relationships with maternity patients is ‘measured in decades and generations’.
Dr Burton says the benefit of GPs’ trusted relationships with maternity patients is ‘measured in decades and generations’.

‘Many women do not even know that their GP, in partnership with midwives and obstetricians, can play a key role in their antenatal care. We need to get better at closing the gaps in care that occur as women transition between specialists or hospital-based and community-based care.’
 
That is Dr Wendy Burton, Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Antenatal and Postnatal Care network, who believes women should have a greater – and more informed – choice when it comes to where they receive care during pregnancy. 
 
‘Antenatal care does not have to be exclusively care by a private obstetrician, midwife or GP, or a publicly funded, usually hospital-based, midwife or obstetrician,’ she said. ‘It should be flexible and wrap around the needs of the woman and the skills of her healthcare team.
 
‘GPs, midwives and obstetricians are natural partners who can champion the importance of women having ongoing care by a health professional they come to know and trust.’
 
According to the RACGP, the role of GPs in providing maternity care encompasses:

  • providing choice for the patient
  • collaborative care
  • preconception care
  • antenatal and postnatal care
  • intrapartum care for suitably qualified GPs – GP obstetricians
  • care for patients in rural and remote communities
  • care for vulnerable groups
  • high-quality education, training and research in maternity care.
The college said it will call on the Federal Government to acknowledge the role of GPs in the new National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services, due for release next year.
 
Dr Burton has found that the benefit of GPs’ trusted relationships with maternity patients is ‘measured in decades and generations’.
 
‘Many patients I see through their pregnancy have been my patient for years and I will continue to be their family doctor for many years post birth,’ she said.
 
‘I am now in the fortunate position of looking after the babies of babies I looked after.’
 
The RACGP’s Maternity care in general practice position statement is available on its website.



antenatal care maternity care postnatal care pregnancy





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