Delivering a Healthy WA
Health Networks - Collaborative health care planning for the whole community

Womens and Newborns Health Network

Midwifery Group Practices in Western Australia

The Womens and Newborns Health Network, Continuity of Care Working Group have overseen the development of a statewide Midwifery Annualised Salary Agreement. This agreement has been pivotal in employing midwives in Midwifery Group Practices (MGPs) in public maternity services across Western Australia.

MGPs have now been established in maternity services at Armadale, Broome, Bunbury, and King Edward Memorial Hospital. MGPs ensure that women can receive continuity of care by the same midwife or small group of midwives in collaboration with medical staff throughout their pregnancy, during labour and into the postnatal period.  Midwifery group practice complements the already established metropolitan wide, Community Midwifery Program. Both models improve and enrich maternity care services provided to women and families in WA by placing them at the centre.

Many of the successes that have been seen are consistent with the research supporting MGP’s including:

  • reduced birth interventions including caesareans, induction of labour, narcotic and epidural analgesia in labour
  • higher rate of vaginal birth after caesarean section
  • improved workplace satisfaction and recruitment / retention rates for midwives
  • extremely high level of maternal satisfaction with their care.

These results are a testament to the dedicated work of midwives working in MGPs.

More information on midwifery group practice is available in our feature article.

MGP Toolkit

The Continuity of Care Working Group is developing a toolkit to assist managers and clinicians working across public maternity services in Western Australia (WA), implement midwifery-led continuity of care models

The toolkit will:

  • support maternity services to develop and implement Maternal Continuity of Care models (MCoC)
  • contain helpful information about the core principles of MCoC
  • include key steps to include in an implementation plan
  • include appendices of templates and documents

The toolkit will be released later this year.

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care

In 2012 the Network partnered with the Women's Health Clinical Support Program at King Edward Memorial Hospital to develop a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care and Service Delivery (the model).

In November 2013 broad consultation was undertaken and the feedback used by members of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care Working Group to finalise the model.
The model will:

  • provide a comprehensive approach to optimise perinatal and infant/child mental health services for all Western Australians
  • describe evidence-based best practice and service delivery across the perinatal and infant/child continuum of care
  • address promotion and prevention through to intervention and treatment for the before pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postnatal, infant and early childhood periods
  • aim to ensure that services consider each member of the family unit, and that services are provided in ways that are respectful of families’ own knowledge of their babies and children.

The completed model should be available by the end of the year.

Model of Palliative Care in the Perinatal Period

Perinatal palliative care is a holistic approach to supportive and end-of-life care in the perinatal period.  The aim of the Model of Palliative Care in the Perinatal Period (model) is to improve care provision during pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn period where the fetus has an identified fetal anomaly, or a newborn has an identified life-limiting condition.  The model provides pathways for the referral and entry of the fetus/newborn and their family into a palliative care plan. It will also assist health care professionals in planning and providing this care, and the wider community of service providers involved.

The model was developed by a core steering group in partnership with King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH), Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Womens and Newborns Health Network and WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network (Palliative Care Program).  The draft model was sent for consultation between December 2013 and January 2014 and the final document was endorsed by the State Health Executive Forum in September 2014.  A Referral Pathway Steering Group is currently confirming referral pathways between KEMH, PMH and Silver Chain services.

The model should be available by the end of the year.

Refugee and Migrant Women Working Group

The Refugee and Migrant Women Working Group has been re-established to address two of the five recommendations from the Improving Maternity care for refugee and migrant women in Western Australia: Report from 2013–2014 workshops (Workshops Report).

The group is running a series of focus groups to ask refugee and migrant women in the community their thoughts and experiences on health services for women during pregnancy and childbirth. The aim of the focus groups is to support the findings from the Workshops Report and then develop a toolkit of resources.