Colleges join forces to improve maternal care

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have produced a joint statement on the important role of the GP in maternity care.

The Role of the General Practitioner in Maternity Care is part of a UK-wide bid to improve the care of pregnant women and new mothers.

The consensus statement acknowledges that GPs have an important role in maternity care and sets out a minimum of seven criteria that they should achieve to demonstrate their competence in this area, including:

  • Pre-conception care, especially for those with complex care needs
  • Health promotion in early pregnancy, including managing conditions such as bleeding
  • Recognising and signposting emergency conditions directly to hospital
  • Follow-up care for medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension
  • Provision of postnatal and contraception advice

Professor Amanda Howe, RCGP Honorary Secretary said: “Many GPs would like to have an enhanced role in maternity care and this makes sense because of the strong bond between the woman and her family doctor.

“We are reassured that our colleagues at the RCM and RCOG stand with us and share this view, as demonstrated by the publication of our joint statement.

“With the King’s Fund discussion paper in 2010, we have support for GPs to have a role in maternity care, before, during and after pregnancy.

Cathy Warwick, RCM General Secretary, said: “High-quality, safe maternity services are dependent on all of the health professionals involved working together as a team and communicating well. I am delighted that the RCGP, RCOG and the RCM have come together to produce this important statement, which promotes collaborative working.”

Dr Tony Falconer, RCOG President said, “We acknowledge the important role of family doctors in the provision of maternity services as they are the first point of contact for some women.  
“With their knowledge of a woman’s medical history, they are in a good position to advise on care, as described in the statement.  
“We believe good care can be provided through better joint working between healthcare professionals and this approach dovetails the recommendations laid out in our High Quality Women’s Health Care report.”
The Role of the General Practitioner in Maternity Care: A Consensus Statement can be found on the RCGP website here.  

High Quality Women’s Health Care: A proposal for change can be found on the RCOG website here.  


RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

RCM Press office – 020 7312 3456

RCOG press office -  please call Naomi Weston on 020 7772 6357

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of over 42,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries.  We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.  For more information visit the RCM website at

Date published: 06/10/2011
Published by: Naomi Weston
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