Welcome to the December, and the final issue of the GP Obstetric Shared Care Program’s newsletter for 2020.

The details about the novel coronavirus cluster in Wuhan, China began to emerge as the new year 2020 began, but that the cluster would herald a catastrophic global pandemic, with dire consequences was not yet apparent. However, by March, it most certainly was. Social distancing, flattenening the curve, lockdown, clusters, masks and the COVID Safe App were suddenly part of our everyday talk and everyday life. Here at GP Partners Australia we began working from home and GPs began using telehealth in earnest.

By any measure, a reflection on this year would categorise 2020 as annus horribilis and you would be justified in wondering how we are to possibly navigate our way through these tough times. I am cognisant that a review of GP Partners Australia’s performance in managing the GP Obstetric Shared Care Program across this year is in the context of over a million deaths from COVID-19, and the destruction of a generation of economic gains by not only the spread of the disease but by the steps taken to mitigate it.

However, as we have navigated our way forward, the caring of our pregnant patients and families, in the community and hospitals has continued. The GP Obstetric Shared Care Program has responded strongly and resiliently to these tough times, uncertainties and everchanging restrictions that have impacted the ways in which GPs care for their pregnant patients in the community.

At GP Partners Australia, we sincerely hope that you have not been too adversely impacted and that conditions may be now improving with the reduced incidence of COVID-19 infections in South Australia. 

Looking back ten years, there were 573 GPs participating in the Obstetric Shared Care Program in SA. Today, the GP Obstetric Shared Care Program has grown to over 681 GPs accredited in the Program covering 460 General Practices.

It is a great privilege to be able to manage such an important program that has not only increased its relevance, profile and advocacy over the past year, despite the impact of COVID-19, but is working towards the mission that South Australian women and families have a choice of having their pregnancy managed by their trusted GP.

Reading on, you will see that there is much that we have done to focus on that was not all doom and gloom.

Through education and training, advocacy, and policy development we have continued to influence the standard of care delivered to our community by GPs participating in the South Australian GP Obstetric Shared Care Program.

During this past year we were impacted by COVID-19 and many face-to-face CPD activities were cancelled or postponed. However, over the previous four months we were able to host our inaugural virtual online workshop with 92 GPs participating. We held our Obstetric Shared Care Accreditation Seminar as a split evening in July and August at the Adelaide Pavilion and then at the Adelaide Zoo in October, and these accredited activities were attended by over 356 GPs. As well as hosting four evening CPD activities, expanding our content and topics to address some key areas of interest such as ‘Reproductive Carrier Screening’, ‘Breast Feeding 101′, ‘The Fertility Conversation’, ‘Common Antenatal Complications in Pregnancy’ and ‘The Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy’. We thank all of our wonderful Presenters this year, and for their committment to the teaching of antenatal care to our GPs.

The GP Obstetric Shared Care Program has collaborated with GPEx again this year and has participated in a series of workshops designed for Registrars. The aim is to offer the Registrars an insight into the key elements to providing good evidence-based antenatal care in the community, focussing on the first 20 weeks, as well as advocating for the Program. Although there were many changes, all four workshops have now been completed with a total of 104 Registrars attending. 

The Program travelled to Mt Gambier for one week in August to facilitate the supervised clinical attachments of 5 GPs, in order for them to obtain provisional accreditation to look after women in their Practice over 20 weeks gestation. The trip was a huge success and culminated in a CPD activity held at ‘The Barn’, with over 50 GPs, Midwives and Obstetricians attending. Networking was the result and strong advocacy and support for the Program resulted.

To adapt to our ever-changing pace of life and find more convenient ways to deliver education and resources to you, we are excited to continue recording our popular Obstetric Podcast series on relevant topics based on your suggestions and feedback. 

The relationship between the GP Obstetric Shared Care Program and our three major public hospitals in Adelaide remains strong. We have worked tirelessly to upgrade and maintain our GP database to reflect not only GPs details and location but the addition of qualifications and languages.

We will now continue to work hard to ensure maximum awareness of the Program into 2021, and to contribute to greater consistency in antenatal care and to improve the experience and outcomes of obstetric shared care in the community. The voice of pregnant women is being heard and our survey results indicate the satisfaction women and families have with their antenatal care provided by their GP.

The GP Obstetric Shared Care Program exists with the dedication and service of the members of the Clinical Governance and Operations Committees, our GP Advisors, Dr Jenni Goold and Dr Michelle Emmerson, our Midwife Coordinators, as well as my team and with great gratitude, I thank them all for their contribution to the success of the Program.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to support our program with your participation and feedback.  

Leanne March | GP Obstetric Shared Care Program Manager

GP Obstetric Shared Care
Accreditation Seminar 2020

The GP Obstetric Shared Care Accreditation Seminar 2020 was held at the Adelaide Zoo on Saturday 17th October 2020.

We were delighted with the number of GPs who attended and their active participation. We were treated to a range of relevant and interesting topics by excellent and experienced speakers.

The presentations from the day are now available for downloading from our website and can be accessed by clicking here.

We were appreciative of the many emails we received expressing thanks for such an informative, educational and enjoyable day.

GP Obstetric Shared Care Program Protocols 

The South Australian GP Obstetric Shared Care Protocols – Clinical Directive will guide General Practitioners, Registered Midwives and health practitioners working within the South Australian public health system when caring for the woman who makes an informed choice to have her antenatal care provided within a shared care arrangement.

These protocols have been developed in accordance with contemporary professional standards of care and outline the minimum standards of clinical practice required by General Practitioners providing maternity services in South Australia. The SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines underpin the SA GP Obstetric Shared Care Protocols.
The GP Obstetric Shared Care Program’s Protocols were reviewed and updated in April this year accordance with best practice and relevant guidelines. Any changes to these Protocols were endorsed by the SA Maternity Neonatal Gynaecology Community of Practice – Clinical Reference Work Group. The GP OSC SA Protocols are updated every 5 years or as required.


We are listening to your feedback… 

In 2021 we will be continuing to offer you CPD Events, Podcasts and Webinars with greater relevance and interactive opportunities!

Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Breast Feeding Policy Directive

Please see the revised Breast Feeding Policy Directive.
The work group that has constructed this revision would appreciate your feedback.
Can you please provide your feedback to Alice Steeb (alice.steeb@sa.gov.au) by 22nd December 2020.

The SA Maternal, Neonatal and Gynaecology, and the SA Child and Adolescent Health Communities of Practice facilitate the development and review of statewide Practice Guidelines.

I would like to remind you that the guidelines are available from two (2) platforms:

  1. www.sahealth.sa.gov.au
  2. https://extapps.health.sa.gov.au/PracticeGuidelines

Over recent months the SA Health web platform has been updated and subsequent the access to  www.sahealth.sa.gov.au has been unreliable at times.

This is of concern that clinicians may not be able to access the practice guidelines when they need to.

This access issue has not been apparent with the web based app site:  https://extapps.health.sa.gov.au/PracticeGuidelines

It is suggested that clinicians download the web based app site:  https://extapps.health.sa.gov.au/PracticeGuidelines and utilise this site in the first instance when seeking access to guidelines.

The web based app site:  https://extapps.health.sa.gov.au/PracticeGuidelines is proving to be far more reliable than the web site at this point in time.

Every week counts.
Why is this important?

Over the past two decades clinicians considered 37 to 41 weeks of gestation to be a term pregnancy, and there was an assumption that birth outcomes at 37 weeks were similar to those at 38, 39 or 40 weeks. There is a growing body of evidence and literature that shows there is very important development, particularly brain development, that happens in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

The Every Week Counts website provides an overview of the benefits for babies who are born closer to their due date at 40 weeks – as long as the pregnancy is healthy and progressing without any issues.

When discussing the timing of birth with expectant mothers, clinicians face decisions about whether to schedule birth or wait for labour to begin naturally, and this discussion is even more pertinent when there are health complications. Determining the optimal timing of birth involves balancing the short and long-term health benefits to the mother and her baby, with any risks specific to her pregnancy.



I came across this stunning artwork by earth.blended.

Perspectives on Birth and Perinatal Care

Streaming online from February 5th 2021 to May 31st, 2021.

‘Perspectives on Birth and Perinatal Care’ online conference brings together a faculty of leading experts from Australia and around the world to bring you the latest research and education in issues in birth and perinatal care.