Midwives' perceptions of organisational structures and processes influencing their ability to provide caseload care to socially disadvantaged and vulnerable women
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OBJECTIVE: this study examined midwives' perceptions of organisational structures and processes of care when working in a caseload model (Midwifery Group Practice MGP) for socially disadvantaged and vulnerable childbearing women. DESIGN: this study used Donabedian's theoretical framework for evaluating the quality of health care provision. Of the 17 eligible midwives, 15 participated in focus group discussions and two others provided written comments. Thematic analysis was guided by three headings; clinical outcomes, processes of care and organisational structure. FINDINGS: midwives believed they provided an excellent service to socially disadvantaged and vulnerable childbearing women. Midwives gained satisfaction from working in partnership with women, working across their full scope of practice, and making a difference to the women. However the midwives perceived the MGP was situated within an organisation that was hostile to the caseload model of care. Midwives felt frustrated and distressed by a lack of organisational support for the model and a culture of blame dominated by medicine. A lack of material resources and no identified office space created feelings akin to 'homelessness'. Together these challenges threatened the cohesiveness of the MGP and undermined midwives' ability to advocate for women and keep birth normal. KEY CONCLUSIONS: if access to caseload midwifery care for women with diverse backgrounds and circumstances is to be enhanced, then mechanisms need to be implemented to ensure organisational structures and processes are developed to sustain midwives in the provision of 'best practice' maternity care. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: women accessing midwifery caseload care have excellent maternal and newborn outcomes. However there remains limited understanding of the impact of organisational structures and processes of care on clinical outcomes.