Antenatal GP Shared Care
For the purposes of this outline, the pronouns she/her and the terms “woman” and “mother” will be used when referring to the gestating (pregnant) parent. In practice, however, please know I'm open to embracing whichever terms you prefer or identify with. Every parent deserves to feel welcomed, affirmed and safe, without fear of judgement.
What is GP Shared Care?
GP Shared Care is a three-way partnership between a pregnant woman, her GP, and the local hospital antenatal service (hence ‘shared’); from “I think I’m pregnant!” through to baby’s arrival. Over the course of a pregnancy, a woman will typically attend regular medical appointments. In GP Shared Care, the majority of these visits will be with her GP. A smaller number of visits will be at the local hospital. The GP and the hospital keep an open channel of communication to relay important information as the pregnancy progresses. In addition to your routine pregnancy checks and reviews, I like to talk to women about baby feeding, prenatal colostrum expression, mental health in the perinatal period, preparation for delivery, and transition to parenthood. As you may already know, there are also other avenues for pregnancy care (including private obstetric care and hospital-based midwifery care), which a woman may opt to pursue instead - these aren’t discussed here but I'm happy to answer questions about them during your visit.
Why choose GP Shared Care?
Here are some of the values I see in doing GP Shared Care with me:
Continuity: you get to see the same GP (e.g. me) for the majority of your pregnancy visits, and then I can see you again after birth for a newborn wellness check and/or Breastfeeding & Baby Care visit. A familiar face can be a big relief when you're feeling vulnerable, afraid, nervous, or confused.
Connection: over the course of multiple visits, you have the opportunity to form a meaningful and trusting connection with your Shared Care GP.
Convenience: including flexibility of appointment times, online bookings, upfront fee information.
Does every GP do Shared Care?
The simple answer is no. Not to worry, every GP is trained to deal with general pregnancy matters and urgent concerns, if needed. However, not every GP is registered for GP Shared Care. GPs who are registered can nominate themselves as the treating doctor for a woman doing Shared Care, meaning that they commit to the management of her pregnancy in collaboration with the local hospital and are required to attend ongoing professional development in antenatal medicine.
Is GP Shared Care suitable for all pregnancies?
GP Shared Care is reserved for low-risk pregnancies requiring minimal input from obstetric and/or other specialty areas. For the safety of mother and baby, any pregnancy which is thought to be moderate-high risk will be referred to the care of the hospital clinic or to a private obstetrician. Usually, this is apparent at the beginning of a pregnancy; at other times, a transfer of care is done at a later stage if needed.
Will your GP deliver your baby?
No, not in Sydney. That said, there are some very skilled GP obstetricians in rural and remote Australia who do it all! Locally, our program is set up so that when it comes time to deliver your baby, you’ll be looked after by expert delivery suite staff at one of our CESPHN network public hospitals (The Sutherland Hospital or St George Hospital).
How much does GP Shared Care with me cost?
I'm upfront about the fees involved in seeing me for GP Shared Care. Every GP sets their own fees, unless they run a bulk billing service. KFMP is a privately billing practice. Most people are eligible to receive rebates from Medicare, which helps to cover part of the professional consult fees. Please use this as a guide to my typical fee structure. Sometimes, depending on the duration or complexity of a consultation, fees may be subject to change. Sadly, the Government rebates for pregnancy care are tragically inadequate to cover the cost of professional care. The best person to speak to about this is your local MP.
Initial Visit - "I Think I'm Pregnant!" (30 mins)
Your Medicare rebate: $44.15
Out of pocket cost: $135.85
Routine Visits up to 40 weeks (15 mins)
Fee per visit: $90
Your Medicare rebate: $44.15
Out of pocket cost per visit: $45.85
[The 28 week Special Checkup has a higher Medicare rebate, so your gap fee will be waived on that occasion]
The portion of your GP Shared Care journey that takes place in the hospital (typically a few visits with the midwives throughout the pregnancy, plus labour/delivery and postnatal ward) is generally free of charge for Medicare card holders as it's a public hospital service.
Why do I enjoy GP Shared Care?
If there's just one take home message from this page, it's this: I really love antenatal care. My philosophy is simple: to provide thorough and thoughtful pregnancy care to each woman in a way that complements your maternal instincts during your pregnancy journey. I practise an inclusive approach to families of all descriptions. I love having a laugh with my pregnant patients, learning from them, and participating in their story. When things don’t go to plan, I feel privileged to be in a position to support women through difficult times. Meeting baby and reconnecting with your new family after delivery is also a big highlight for me!