Research Article

Roles, risks, and responsibilities in maternity care: trainees' beliefs and the effects of practice obstetric training.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 20 June 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:1613
  1. L. F. Smith
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, University of Bristol.


    OBJECTIVES--To document the content of practice obstetric vocational training, the beliefs of general practitioner trainees about the roles of midwives and general practitioners in maternity care, and the risks of providing such care; and to ascertain if undergoing such training affects their beliefs. DESIGN--Confidential postal questionnaire survey. SUBJECTS--Random one in four sample of all general practitioner trainees in the United Kingdom on vocational training schemes or in training practices in autumn 1990. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Beliefs scored on seven point Likert scales and characteristics of trainer and training practice. RESULTS--Of 1019 trainees sent questionnaires, 765 (75.1% response rate) replied; 638 (83.3%) had done some part of their practice year. Of their trainers, 224 (35.1%) provided full obstetric care. 749 (99%) and 364 (48%) trainees believed that midwives and general practitioners respectively have an important role in normal labour; 681 (91.7%) trainees believed that general practice intrapartum care is a high risk "specialty." Those trainees whose trainers provide full obstetric care were significantly more likely to believe that both midwives and general practitioners have an important role in abnormal labour and to see the provision of intrapartum care as an incentive to join a practice. CONCLUSION--In this series most general practitioner trainees believed that both midwives and general practitioners have important roles in maternity care. Exposure of trainees to the provision of full obstetric care while in their training practice resulted in a more positive attitude towards the provision of such care by general practitioners.