Gold Standard Care for Our First Nation Women
Mercy Hospital for Women’s Nangnak Baban Murrup Clinic is participating in an important project started by La Trobe University 18 months ago, which seeks to enhance the process of identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternity patients and their babies, and offer them the Maternity Group Practice (MGP) model of care.
After extensive planning, Mercy Hospital for Women joined the project by setting up the Nangnak Baban Murrup Maternity Group Practice Clinic. Maternity Group Practice provides a patient with the same midwife throughout the duration of her pregnancy — from her first appointment through to two weeks after the birth of her baby.
La Trobe University received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to run the program. As well as the Mercy Hospital for Women, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Sunshine Hospital are also taking part, and Goulburn Valley Health is expected to come on board in the future.
Mercy Hospital for Women Clinical Midwife Specialist Zoe Lock and La Trobe University Research Midwife Ingrid Holmes have been leading the project’s implementation at Mercy Hospital for Women. Specifically, they have been recruiting patients for research and educating Maternity Group Practice, Antenatal Clinic and Birth Suites midwives about the project and how to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
“In order to provide care for these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women selecting Maternity Group Practice, we are creating an environment in which patients feel comfortable to identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” says Zoe. “Ingrid and I are supporting staff to ask the questions which all patients should be asked on admission to our services.”
The project is reaping excellent results. “A high number of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternity patients have been selecting the Maternity Group Practice model of care,” says Mercy Hospital for Women Senior Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer Jo Pappas.
“It’s really important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families have a choice about what type of maternity care they receive. The fact that so many of these patients have accepted the Maternity Group Practice model since this program was introduced is really wonderful,” says Zoe.
Message to: Catherine Butterfield, Mercy Health