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Multidisciplinary Collaborative Primary Maternity Care

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National Envelope - National Strategy on Collaborative Care

Lead and Partner Organization(s) :

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada; with Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM); Canadian Nurses Association; College of Family Physicians of Canada; Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

Background and Goals :

Multidisciplinary collaborative models can substantially increase the capacity of our health care system to successfully face the shortages of maternity care professionals (physicians, midwives and nurses) that have been developing over more than a decade. However, some barriers have limited the development of such models, including regulatory issues; restrictions in scope of practice; financial and economic issues; medico-legal and liability issues; lack of awareness of the benefits of multidisciplinary collaborative care; and overburdened health care providers with no time or energy to seek alternate models of primary maternity care. This national initiative aimed to reduce these barriers and facilitate the implementation of national multidisciplinary collaborative strategies to increase the availability and quality of maternity services for all Canadian women. Specifically, this initiative’s objectives sought to:
  • Develop guidelines for multidisciplinary collaborative care models;
  • Determine current national standards for terminology and scopes of practice;
  • Harmonize standards and legislation;
  • Increase collaboration among professionals;
  • Change practice patterns;
  • Facilitate information sharing; and
  • Promote the benefits of multidisciplinary collaborative maternity care.

Activities :

The Multidisciplinary Collaborative Primary Maternity Care Project (MCP2) took place over a 24-month period, ending June 2006. A National Primary Maternity Care Committee (NPMCC) was established at the beginning with representatives from each of the partner associations, provincial government representatives and consumers. Members of this committee participated in working groups (Model Development, Public Policy, Research/Evaluation, Communications, and Harmonization/Legal) and were instrumental to the success of this initiative. Some activities undertaken by the MCP2 included the following:

Resources :

Key Learnings :

The initiative developed various guidelines and tools to facilitate the implementation of models of multidisciplinary collaborative care that could relieve health human resources shortages. These tools will affect policy and facilitate changes in practice patterns and will be available on the initiative’s website for one more year. MCP2 enjoyed the continuous support of stakeholders throughout its life. The health human resources crisis in maternity care motivated members of NPMCC to actively participate in this initiative. Working together created opportunities for formal and informal exchanges of information about philosophies of care, scopes of practice and core competencies—topics that many of these maternity care providers had never had an opportunity to discuss with one another prior to this experience.

Despite some challenges, evaluation activities concluded that MCP2 encouraged participants to reflect on the options for change. Participants were willing to work together to create a better, more sustainable system and were interested in developing local collaborative models. A large number of professionals strongly agreed with the key elements of collaborative practice identified by the initiative, including mutual respect and trust, shared goals, informed choice, professional competence and collegial relationships among team members. Over 87 per cent of those surveyed agreed that there is a need for a pan-Canadian maternity care strategy responsible for planning multidisciplinary collaborative care. To this end, MCP2 proposed the establishment of a pan-Canadian network that would be responsible for: promoting Canadian standards and quality of care, sharing best practices, promoting a coordinated vision, facilitating the implementation of collaborative care models, and promoting protocols and tools to implement change.

Approved Contribution :


Contact Information :

Dr. André Lalonde
Chair, Executive Committee
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Phone: 613-730-4912

This initiative was supported by the Primary Health Care Transition Fund. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the federal government. The above information was prepared on the basis of the initiative’s final report, in consultation with its author.