ACM President Joanne Gray facilitates this panel based around research into working with GPs to prioritise Midwifery-led Care.
Research undertaken by Jaime Thomas concerns referral to all models of care and acknowledges midwifery-led COC models as the gold standard of maternity care. It discusses how various factors influence GP referral including:
- limited MW-led COC model knowledge among the participant GPs
- limited MW-led MOC professional & personal experience among the participant GPs
- an unfavourable perception of private midwifery models offering homebirth among many of the participant GPs
- the need for early referral to gain access to MW-led models as disclosed by the participant GPs may act as barriers to accessing these models.
Such findings have informed many of the recommendations that have come out of this research including:
- Increasing GP knowledge surrounding MW-led MOC via education and collaborative practice
- Increasing GP exposure to MW-led MOC during medical education and GP training
- The integration of primary maternity care experts - midwives into health design systems like PHNs provides a top-down approach to increase awareness of midwifery-led models of care.
- Health service design that provides backup systems for providers of homebirth, patient feedback systems and PHN evaluation that meets the needs of women is recommended.
- Education of GPs on the safety of appropriate homebirth and private midwifery continuity of care models is recommended to shift misconceptions around the safety of these models of care.
Jaime Thomas is a registered midwife, Curtin University Master of Philosophy candidate and medical student at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle in Western Australia. Upon completion of her midwifery degree, she gained graduate midwifery experience at the tertiary hospital in Western Australia and worked as a research assistant on the national collaboration exploring the experiences of receiving and providing maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, known as the CovMat study. She has a keen interest in primary health care and women’s health which has informed her desire to pursue a medical career. Her MPhil project seeks to understand the factors that influence referral to maternity models of care in Australian general practice.
Lesley Kuliukas' rich midwifery experience spans a wide variety of maternity settings and education establishments over many years. Lesley completed her nursing at Charing Cross Hospital in London and midwifery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. She has practised over the whole spectrum of maternity care from high risk to birth centre and community settings. Lesley’s career path has involved both education and practice in England and Australia and Lesley is currently a midwifery Senior Lecturer and also practices as an endorsed midwife. Lesley’s focus in education is to help prepare future midwives, by providing authentic reality-based education and in practice to provide a safe woman-centred approach, tailored to individual needs. She aims to ensure that every couple is able to approach the birth of their baby and approaching parenthood, prepared physically and psychologically, fully informed and ready for the next part of their life journey. Lesley’s research interests include breastfeeding, intrapartum transfer, pelvic anatomy, learning and teaching and COVID-19.
Jacqueline Frayne is a General Practitioner/ obstetrics diplomate who divides her career between clinical practice both in general practice and at KEMH in the Childbirth and Mental Illness Antenatal Clinic, academic work and research at The University of Western Australia. She has over 25 years of experience in the area of women’s reproductive and mental health. She sits on the Western Australian Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Steering Committee and the National Women’s Health, Research Translation and Impact Network.