A thriving midwifery group program


ABC News has profiled Northeast Health Wangaratta's long-standing and successful Midwifery Group Program (MGP), which has been a fixture of our service since the late 1990s. Close to 4000 babies have been delivered through our MGP, which is one of the longest running programs in regional Australia. Read the report by journalist Georgia Hitch.

What can we learn from one of the longest-running regional midwifery programs?

By political reporter Georgia Hitch
Posted updated 
A baby's hand clenched in a fist in a bed with bumble bee printed sheets
Some regional maternity services face difficulties remaining open because of staff or resourcing issues. (ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)

Regarded by many as the “gold standard” in maternity services, MGPs are a continuity of care model and result in lower rates of intervention, lower risk of preterm birth and fetal loss, and higher rates of maternal satisfaction — and they cost hospitals less as well.

But a mix of barriers, including staffing, attitudes and resources mean establishing these programs in regional Australia can be hard.

However, Northeast Health in Wangaratta has proved these programs can thrive.

The midwifery group program there has been a permanent fixture since the late 1990s, making it one of the longest-running programs in regional Australia.

Since its inception, close to 4,000 babies have been delivered through the program.

So, what’s the secret to creating, and keeping, a program like this in regional Australia? The midwives who work there could help shed a bit of light.