Opinions of professionals about integrating midwife- and obstetrician-led care in The Netherlands
Objective: the current division between midwife-led and obstetrician-led care creates fragmentation in maternity care in the Netherlands. This study aims to gain insight into the level of consensus among maternity care professionals about facilitators and barriers related to integration of midwife-led and obstetrician-led care.
Setting: the Netherlands in 2013. Participants: 131 (response 44%) primary care midwives, 51 (response 51%) clinical midwives and 242 (response 25%) obstetricians completed the questionnaire.
Findings: there was consensus about the clinical midwife caring for labouring women at moderate risk of complications. Although primary care midwives themselves were willing to expand their tasks there was no consensus among respondents on the tasks and responsibilities of the primary care midwife. Professionals agreed on the importance of good collaboration between professionals who should work together as a team. Respondents also agreed that there are conflicting interests related to the payment structure, which are a potential barrier for integrating maternity care.
Key conclusions: this study shows that professionals are positive regarding an integrated maternity care system but primary care midwives, clinical midwives and obstetricians have different opinions about the specifications and implementation of this system.
Implication for practice: our findings are in accordance with earlier research, showing that it is too early to design a blueprint for an integrated maternity care model in the Netherlands. To bring about change in the maternity care system, an implementation strategy should be chosen that accounts for differences in interests and opinions between professionals.