Although there is high-level evidence supporting positive perinatal outcomes for midwifery group practice (MGP) care, not all women can access this model due to a failure to implement or sustain it. The way that MGPs are managed could be an important factor in whether they are successful in the long-term.
To explore what determines optimal management of MGP in Australia, and the influence it has on sustainability of MGP.
Interviews were conducted with MGP midwives (n = 8). Transcriptions of the audio recordings were analysed thematically and lexically for triangulation.
Following a thematic analysis of the data, an over-arching theme emerged – namely — being valued and supported, with three sub-themes: a nice little sweet spot, someone to stand up for you, and building relationships and support beyond the model. This revealed that value and support by all stakeholders, including the midwives themselves, was necessary to sustain an MGP. The lexical analysis revealed the themes: support, the system, and the caseload. This analysis highlighted the importance of the system – specifically, the impact of the institution on how MGP is operationalised.
For MGP to be sustained in Australia, it needs to be prioritised, nurtured, and embraced by the whole maternity care system. Management plays an important role in ensuring the right people are employed to pivotal positions and that midwifery-led models of care are valued and supported throughout the system.