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

Womens and Newborns Health Network

Dr Janet Hornbuckle and Mr Graeme Boardley, Co-Leads

2014 was another productive year for the Network with key achievements being:

Priorities for 2015 include:

  • WA Health hosting an inter-agency and cross-sector forum to identify solutions for delivering health services to disadvantaged women across WA. This forum will include metropolitan, rural and remote representatives.
  • Working with the Women and Newborn Health Service on the implementation plan for the WA Women’s Health Strategy 2013-2017. This was an endorsed recommendation from the Clinical Senate debate in July 2014.

Featured in this edition:

Continuity of Care Working Group

This working group has overseen the development of a statewide Midwifery Annualised Salary Agreement. This agreement has been pivotal in employing midwives in Midwifery Group Practices (MGPs).

MGPs have now been established in maternity services at Armadale, Broome, Bunbury, and King Edward Memorial Hospital. The establishment of MGPs at these locations has significantly increased the number of women accessing continuity of care. Other health services are planning to implement MGPs in 2015.

This group will continue to progress the implementation of Maternal Continuity of Care midwifery led models in WA. This method of practice aims to ensure women receive continuity of care by the same midwife or small group of midwives throughout their pregnancy, during labour and into the postnatal period.

Refugee and Migrant Women Working Group

This working group considers specific issues relating to refugee and migrant women accessing maternity services across Western Australia. They ran three successful metropolitan workshops in 2014 and the final report (PDF 773KB) has now been published.

The group has reviewed the workshop feedback and will be progressing two recommendations in 2015:

  • Hold a consumer forum to validate findings from the initial workshops. The forum will provide consumers with an opportunity to highlight issues and suggest improvements in maternal care for refugee and migrant women and their families.
  • Develop a health practitioner’s toolkit and resources, to assist in the delivery of care to this vulnerable population group.

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care and Service Delivery

The Network is supporting a working group led by North Metropolitan Health Service to develop a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care and Service Delivery.

The Model identifies key areas and priorities to improve access to quality services across the continuum of care and is due to go out for final consultation in early 2015, with the aim of having the document published later in the year.

Home birth policy

The WA Health policy for publicly funded home births including guidance for consumer, health professionals and health services (Revised October 2013) was revised in line with the review date.

Only minor updates were made, and a new WA Health Operational Directive was published in January 2015 in line with this revision.

Clinical Senate

The Network sponsored the July 2014 Clinical Senate debate. The debate entitled “Empowering the XX Factor” brought together multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial stakeholders from across WA to discuss access to health services for disadvantaged women.

The recommendations from this debate were tabled at the State Health Executive Forum with two recommendations being endorsed for implementation:

  • Recommendation 4: WA Health to host an inter-agency and cross-sector forum for identifying solutions for delivering health services to disadvantaged women across WA.
  • Recommendation 8: An implementation plan for the Western Australian Women’s Health Strategy 2013-2017 is developed considering inter-agency representation and resourcing .i.e. project manager and funding.

Safe Infant Sleeping Initiative – update to the Safe Infant Sleeping Inter-Agency Implementation Plan

The Safe Infant Sleeping Inter-Agency Implementation Plan was reviewed by the working group in July 2014 and minor changes have now been incorporated into the published plan.

Full details on the safe infant sleeping initiative and its development are available on the Network’s website.