This is the second national release of data on the maternity ‘models of care’ available to women in Australia. This release is part of a work program to report on maternity models of care and looks at the characteristics of the models themselves. Future reporting will also look at measures of access to models of care and outcomes for women and babies utilising different models of care. A goal outlined in the Australian Government’s National Maternity Services Plan is to increase access to local maternity care by expanding the range of models of care available (DoH 2010). Classifying the models of care available to women at the service level will provide a picture of the maternity models of care available across Australia and monitoring this over time will help in evaluating whether the range of models of care available to women is expanding. Assigning a major model category to each model of care means the range of models of care available to women can be reported on using common terminology, for example public hospital maternity care, midwifery group practice caseload care, team midwifery care, private obstetrician (specialist) care, and shared care.
Collecting information about maternity models of care also facilitates the inclusion of model of care data elements into the NPDC. Two model of care data elements were added to the specifications for this collection from 1 July 2020 and jurisdictions are looking to collect this information. For each woman giving birth in Australia, information about their ‘primary’ model of care and their model of care at the ‘onset of labour or non-labour caesarean section’ will be collected. Linking data from the NPDC and the MoC NBPDS will provide information on the number and characteristics of women using different models of care, including outcomes for them and their babies. It will also support mapping and analyses at smaller geographic levels. This will support the aims of the strategic directions for Australian maternity services to improve options for women and maternal and perinatal health across Australia, in particular by supporting the monitoring and evaluation of the strategy (COAG 2019).
Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council 2019. Woman-centred care: Strategic directions for Australian maternity services. Canberra: Department of Health.
Department of Health (DoH) 2010. National Maternity Services Plan. Canberra: Department of Health.