Collabrative working within community maternity services: is this the chink in the armour?

Brona Shaw, Shona Hamilton, Melissa McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contemporary maternity care in Northern Ireland will be driven by the aims of Midwifery 2020 (Department of Health (DH), 2010), High Quality Woman’ s Health Care (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), 2011), Maternity Strategy for Northern Ireland2012–2018 (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI), 2011) and Transforming Your Care (DHSSPSNI, 2011). These reports all have at their core the idea of’ promoting normality’ within a maternity service that will be community based and led by midwives. With this shift, general practitioners (GPs) will be expected to play a significant role within the teams that care for pregnant women. Effective collaboration between professional groups is an essential element in good quality and safe care. It is necessary if the planned transfer of services is to succeed. This study explores if midwives, GPs and those planning maternity services believed that systems were in place for effective collaborative working in the community. The service evaluation used mixed methods to collect data, including five in-depth interviews, questionnaires and a professional forum, with the results demonstrating that few community practices have implemented systems for sharing information between community midwives and GPs. The study found that collaborative working is not a characteristic within community maternity services. It revealed four recurrent themes that hinder effective collaboration: organisation, inter-professional relationships, communication, and quality and safety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-291
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2013


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