A continuing decline in the number of family physicians in Canada providing obstetric, and particularly intrapartum, care.
The Maternity Centre of Hamilton in Ontario was a pilot project initiated to help family physicians provide full obstetric care through a collaborative interdisciplinary model and shared call.
Eleven family physicians provided care in collaboration with a nurse practitioner and other health professionals. Women came from the Maternity Centre's own practices, community physicians, or agencies, or through self-referral. More than a quarter of the women were considered psychosocially high-risk patients. Key features of the program included interdisciplinary collaboration and information technology that supported prenatal and birth documentation.
The program has helped family physicians, and even recruited some, to practise full obstetric care and has provided high-quality, accessible services to pregnant women. Physicians experienced increased jab and personal satisfaction, and patients were highly satisfied with the service.
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