Shared Maternity Care Guidelines

Antenatal shared care (shared care) is joint care of a pregnant woman by her General Practitioner (GP), midwife or private health care professional, and the hospital antenatal clinic. Antenatal shared care creates the opportunity to practice collaborative maternity care by combining the varied skills of each profession. It also aims to provide a community-based holistic model of care for women.
The aims of antenatal shared care are to:

  • provide pregnant women with flexibility, choice and continuity of care
  • provide health care professionals, including GPs and/or private medical or midwifery practitioners with evidence-based, best practice clinical guidelines for antenatal care
  • provide clear referral pathways and shared care protocols for GPs, midwives, private health care professionals and Health Service Providers
  • provide clear clinical pathways when low risk pregnancies deviate from normal
  • enhance the skills of GPs, midwives and private health care professionals caring for women during pregnancy
  • promote communication between GPs, midwives, private health care professionals and the participating Health Service Providers
  • reduce demands on hospital outpatient services
  • cater for the preferences and needs of all women including those from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Maternity shared care extends beyond the antenatal period to include the initial six weeks following birth and transition to parenthood. 

Several WA Health maternity services offer shared care:

North Metropolitan Health Service

South Metropolitan Health Service

East Metropolitan Health Service

WA Country Health Service

External Expert Reviewer Training 

In partnership with the Patient Safety Surveillance Unit, WA Department of Health, SOSU is facilitating education session for senior midwives and obstetricians / GP obstetricians to establish a centralised pool of external, independent reviewers who Health Service Providers can invite to participate in a Root Cause Analysis panel and other forms of review commissioned by Health Service Providers. 

The Department of Health’s Clinical Incident Management (CIM) Policy (supported by the Clinical Incident Management Toolkit) is a conduit for compliance with the NSQHS Standard 1 Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations that requires clinical incidents are recognised, reported and analysed, with the information used to improve safety systems.

The CIM Policy requires the identification of human error and system failure but does not mandate the use of root cause analysis (RCA) for investigation of clinical incidents, but rather provides for alternate investigation methodologies such as clinical review to be used, appropriate to the incident being investigated.