Stork delivers care for mums-to-be with Joondalup hospital

First time mother-to-be Nicole Ryan with JHC head of obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Cliff Neppe and Stork founder Sarah Johnston. Picture: Chris Kershaw
First time mother-to-be Nicole Ryan with JHC head of obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Cliff Neppe and Stork founder Sarah Johnston. Picture: Chris Kershaw

PREGNANT women in the northern suburbs can get maternity care at home through a partnership between community midwives, GPs and Joondalup hospital.

Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) is partnering with GPs and select community-based midwives through the ‘shared maternity care model’, which was presented to about 80 GPs and midwives at a recent event.

Obstetrics director Cliff Neppe said the event officially launched the model, which saw the responsibility for a woman’s pregnancy care shared between the hospital and a community-based GP or endorsed midwife.

“Our shared maternity care partners and JHC’s doctors and midwives act as a team in the provision of a woman’s antenatal care and responsibility for care is shared, including the communication and management of results and findings,” he said.

Dr Neppe said the formal ‘shared care’ arrangement aimed to improve convenience for low-risk patients, enhance communication and provide smoother transition of care.

“Feedback was gathered from our patients in our antenatal clinic which helped us to understand just where we needed to focus on in terms of offering a shared maternity care model,” he said.

“Women see the GP and or endorsed midwife for most of their antenatal care, with the hospital providing care during labour and immediately after birth.

“Post-natal care is then managed by the either by the shared maternity care partner or the hospital.”

JHC has developed several partnerships with northern suburbs community GPs and endorsed midwifes, including maternity care provider Stork.

Stork midwife Sarah Johnston.

The brainchild of midwife Sarah Johnston, Stork works with the hospital to provide seamless care for patients during pregnancy and after baby arrived, which could make the lives of mothers-to-be a little easier.

“As a mother myself, I know how hard it can be to attend hospital or GP surgery appointments when you are coming toward the end of your pregnancy, perhaps towing a toddler,” Ms Johnston said.

“We wanted to offer a service that makes it as stress-free as possible.

“Now, instead of having to head to the hospital or doctor’s surgery, women will be able to see a GP or midwife in their own home for the duration of their pregnancy, taking advantage of Medicare rebates as they go.

“We are able to work hand-in-hand with JHC specialists so when women begin attending their final antenatal-check appointments at the hospital ahead of the birth, they do so safe in the knowledge their notes will be there and waiting for them and they are fully prepared for what is to come.”

Ms Johnston said their care did not stop at birth, with patients also able to take advantage of Stork’s postnatal services.

“When we conceived the Stork service model, we wanted to make sure women continued to feel well supported by people they know and trust once they got home,” she said.

“Babies don’t come with an instruction manual, but we hope we’re the next best thing and we offer breastfeeding advice as well as support in caring for a new baby.”

Call Stork on 0490 862 151 or visit storkpregnancycare.com.au, or visit the hospital’s website to find other shared care providers.