GPs concerned over antenatal care

GPs have criticised plans to move them further away from antenatal care, after NICE developed a tick-box tool for midwives to replace clinical experience.

GPs concerned over antenatal care
GPs concerned over antenatal care

The antenatal assessment tool is meant to help midwives detect risks in pregnant women, say members of the guideline developing group (GDG) updating 2003 NICE antenatal guidelines.

But speaking at the Primary Care 2007 conference in Birmingham last week, chairwoman of the antenatal GDG Dr Rhona Hughes, a consultant obstetrician in Lothian, said: ‘Many patients aren't seeing a GP, they're seeing midwives and they don't have the medical expertise.'

'There is a worry that if midwives are doing the totality of care for pregnant women they may miss risks,' said Dr Hughes.

'As an obstetrician, it was easier talking to GPs about risks.

'That's the way the UK is and  women are seeing midwives.'

Last February, DoH national clinical director for children Dr Sheila Shribman published a report indicating that most maternity care should be done by midwives rather than GPs.

The first draft of the revised  NICE antenatal guideline is due to be published this autumn. It will include the antenatal assessment tool, which will consider maternal age, high parity, previous big baby, depression and any history of domestic abuse when calculating risk.

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