Expectant mothers in Wallaroo, Crystal Brook, Port Pirie, Clare and Jamestown are set to benefit from better access to midwives throughout their pregnancy, with a new way of caring being trialled in the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the trial program will ensure mothers and babies receive the best rural maternity care.
“We know that all too often, expectant mothers in rural and regional areas have limited access to the full suite of antenatal, postnatal, labour and birthing services,” Minister Wade said.
“This trial program will benefit local mothers and their families to ensure they can get the best rural maternity care, closer to home.
“The trial will also ensure support local jobs, by sustaining a regional midwifery workforce and improving capabilities for the future.
“We are committed to providing the best health care for all South Australians and delivering it closer to home.”
Across regional areas, it is not uncommon for maternity services to be limited to antenatal and postnatal care, with local residents forced to travel away from home to give birth.
Through the Sustainability Midwifery Caseload Model of Care trial, midwives will work in partnership with local health services to provide continuity of care throughout the pregnancy and birth.
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Michael Eades, said the trial is modelled on nationally-recognised pregnancy care.
“This trial is based on best practice and will mean women will have the same midwife caring for them throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and post birth,” Mr Eades said.
“Women will be able to build a trusting relationship with their midwife, which we know can increase their confidence, as well as their birth satisfaction, which can deliver better perinatal outcomes.
“As part of the program, midwives will consult with, and refer to, doctors and other caregivers according to guidelines and clinical needs.
“This new continuity model will also deliver flexible working arrangements for midwives and improve the long-term sustainability of birthing services in the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network.
“We are confident local women will benefit from building a trusting relationship with their midwife and consistent access to high-quality health care throughout their pregnancy and postpartum journey.”
The trial is expected to improve the recruitment and retention of midwives across regional South Australia, as well as the long-term sustainability of regional birthing services. Its success will see the Model of Care implemented across other regions.
The Model of Care was designed with input from a broad range of regional clinicians and experts across the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network and is being trialled for a two-year period.