Using a quality care framework to evaluate user and provider experiences of maternity care: A comparative study

Andrew Symon (Lead / Corresponding author), Alison McFadden, Marianne White, Katrina Fraser, Allison Cummins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objective: The Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework describes the components and characteristics of quality care and emphasises relational and continuity elements. Continuity of care is increasingly a focus of maternity care policy in the United Kingdom. While some outcomes have been shown to be improved, there is uncertainty about why certain models of care are more effective. Our overall objective is to develop a maternity care evaluation toolkit which incorporates this Framework along with other outcome evaluations. An initial step in developing this toolkit was to use the adapted Framework to evaluate perceptions and experiences of maternity care. Our specific objective in this study was to test this adapted Framework in a series of focus groups with key stakeholders, and to compare findings between different groups. Findings related to service users (pregnant women and new mothers) are reported in our accompanying paper; this paper presents findings from focus groups with service providers (midwives and obstetricians), and then compares user and provider perspectives.

    Design: A qualitative comparative enquiry involving three focus groups with 26 midwives (eight newly qualified; eight working in a community midwifery unit; and ten senior tertiary-based) and two focus groups with twelve obstetricians of all grades. We used a six-phase thematic analysis to derive then compare the focus groups’ principal sub-themes; we then mapped these to the original Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework and compared these service providers’ responses with those from the pregnant women and new mothers.

    Setting: Two health boards in Scotland.

    Participants: Midwives and obstetricians who had experience of various models of maternity care.

    Findings: There were significant areas of overlap in their perceptions of providing maternity care. All groups reported ‘limited resources and time’; the community midwifery unit and senior midwives and one group of obstetricians provided a critique of the system. Achieving tailored care was acknowledged as a problem by the senior midwives and one group of obstetricians. Only obstetricians discussed strategies for improvement. The newly qualified midwives were most positive in their responses. There was both overlap and contrast when comparing the views of service users and providers. We found most agreement when participants discussed some of the Framework’s characteristics of care in negative terms, such as (in) accessible care, (lack of) adequate resources, and (absence of) tailored care.

    Key conclusions: Being able firstly to map the participants’ responses to the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework, and then to identify strengths and gaps in the provision of quality maternity care, suggests to us that the Framework, derived as it is from a comprehensive analysis of the global evidence on quality care, can indeed be used to inform an evaluation toolkit. While aware that we cannot generalise from this limited qualitative study, we are currently undertaking similar work in other countries by which we hope to confirm our findings and further develop the toolkit.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-25
    Number of pages9
    Early online date5 Mar 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


    • Caseload midwifery
    • Childbirth
    • Models of care
    • Pregnancy
    • Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework
    • Quality of health care

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    • Maternity and Midwifery


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