A Leading Role for Midwives?: Evaluation of Midwifery Group Practice Development Projects


What kind of maternity services do women actually want? How far can women’s choice be satisfied in the present NHS?

A Leading Role for Midwives? is an independent, comprehensive evaluation by the Policy Studies Institute of three midwifery group practice development projects set up by South East Thames Regional Health Authority in response to the recommendations of Changing Childbirth, the 1993 report by the Government’s Expert Maternity Group, and how far the models of services they provided were replicable elsewhere.

The report details the different ways in which the three pilot midwifery group practice projects organised their activities and workload and assesses the extent to which they were able to meet the aims of the initiative set up by the Health Authority. It provides an in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the midwifery group practices as seen through the eyes of the midwives themselves, their managers, as well as GPs and consultant obstetricians closely associated with the projects. The voices of women are also heard, as they describe their own experience of the antenatal, maternity and postnatal care they received from the midwifery group practices.

This report offers considerable insights into the ingredients of good and caring midwifery practice, but highlights the need to learn from the experience of all those involved in the three midwifery group practice pilot projects.

ISBN: 0 85374 706 7