GP Antenatal Shared Care

Women wishing to attend Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) for childbirth have the option of GP antenatal shared care, whereby the General Practitioner (GP) provides most of the antenatal and postnatal care, with support from hospital staff.

A GP who is accredited for antenatal shared care can provide antenatal care in collaboration with RDH throughout the pregnancy in accordance with the Darwin Guidelines for Antenatal Shared Care. 

This program allows accredited GPs to be the primary provider of care throughout a low risk woman’s pregnancy. This care will be as agreed in the official program guidelines and liaising with the Maternity Team at RDH through the allocated GP Shared Care midwife as problems arise. 

The standard schedule of visits under the GP Antenatal Shared Care Program, where the GP leads care, involves:

Week of Pregnancy Who sees woman
<10 GP visits x 2-3
16 RDH – assessment for GP led shared care
22 GP
28 GP
32 GP
34 GP
36 RDH – delivery planning
38 GP
40 RDH – discuss induction
6 weeks post-partum GP

The Darwin GP Antenatal Shared Care Program is a collaboration between RDH Obstetric department, NT PHN and Darwin-based GPs. It aims to improve the quality of care for antenates and follow RANZCOG guidelines regarding accreditation of providers. The oversight of the program is by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from each partner who provide administrative oversight. GPs wishing to undertake this important role must go through an accreditation process and attend yearly updates about antenatal care.

For more information email gpsharedcare@ntphn.org.a

Benefits of GP Antenatal Shared Care

Shared Maternity Care represents an opportunity to practise collaborative holistic obstetric care by combining the varied skills of Midwife, General Practitioner and Obstetrician to the benefit of the community” – RANZCOG Position Statement – Shared maternity care obstetric patients 2016

GP antenatal shared care offers many benefits. 

  • Patient perspective
    • Continuity of care and holistic care provided by familiar GP
    • Fewer hospital visits
    • Shorter waiting times
    • Convenience
    • Flexibility
    • Less travel time
    • Continuity for postpartum care and care of child/children
  • Health service perspective
    • Reduce pressure on Royal Darwin Hospital antenatal clinics including reduced waiting times
    • Resource rationalisation
    • Improve 1st trimester screening rates
    • Enhanced relationship and communication between hospital antenatal clinics and local GPs
  • GP Perspective
    • Clear and accessible guidelines for Antenatal Shared Care
    • Opportunities for education and professional development in antenatal care
    • Streamlined referral processes
    • Designated hospital support person / liaison
    • Continuity of care