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Despite the growing role of specialist obstetricians in intranatal care the importance of the general practitioner's role, especially in antenatal and postnatal care, is being increasingly recognized. We describe a new way of sharing care which involves the consultant obstetrician attending antenatal sessions at fortnightly intervals in the practice. In addition the antenatal record is retained by the patient herself who brings it to all attendances, both in the practice and at the hospital.
We analysed the results of this arrangement and compared them with a controlled series of hospital patients and found some advantages for shared care arrangements including, in particular, a reduction in the number of different doctors seen by patients, a big reduction in the number of patients who were seen by more than three doctors, and an increase in the breast feeding rate at the time of discharge from hospital.