What is shared care?
Shared care is an arrangement between a birthing hospital or other birth setting and a local practitioner, usually a GP. You see your GP for some pregnancy appointments, and you also have hospital appointments in early and later pregnancy. In some rural areas, the GP is at the birth.
Many public hospitals offer GP shared care.
If you live in a rural area, some of your regular pregnancy appointments might be with your GP.
Shared care is an option only for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.
In Australia, GPs who provide shared care must have extra training and qualifications and a special agreement with a birthing hospital.
Why some women like shared care
Some women like shared care because they’re familiar with their GP, their GP knows their medical history, and the care is usually close to home. If English is your second language, your GP might speak your first language and know about your cultural needs.
Finding a GP you feel comfortable with means that you can get to know each other and talk openly. A GP who knows you can help you make good choices about your care.
Arranging shared care
If you’re interested in shared care, check that your GP offers this service and is accredited with your hospital. Or you could check for GPs who offer shared care in your area by contacting the antenatal clinic at your local hospital.
Costs of shared care
If you’re eligible for Medicare and your GP bulk bills, GP appointments won’t cost you anything.
If the GP doesn’t bulk bill, you pay the difference between the GP fee and the Medicare rebate. This means that shared care will cost more than having your pregnancy care through a hospital outpatient pregnancy clinic. You might decide that the higher cost is worth the convenience and familiarity with your GP.