Midwife-led care in the United Kingdom and Ireland may be a cost-effective, safe alternative to medical-led care

Added June 2, 2020

Citation: Ryan P, Revill P, Devane D, Normand C. An assessment of the cost-effectiveness of midwife-led care in the United Kingdom. Midwifery 2013; 29(4): 368-376.

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What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on health systems and healthcare workers. Existing research on different models of healthcare delivery, such as midwife-led obstetric care, might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for comparative effectiveness studies of the cost-effectiveness of midwife-led care, compared with medical-led care for pregnant women, which had been done in the UK or similar settings. They restricted their searches to articles published in English. The search period was not stated, but the review was submitted for publication in June 2011. The authors included 4 randomised trials (3 from the UK and 1 from Ireland), and synthesized the economic analyses from the three largest studies (total: 6403 participants). They concluded that there was a paucity of evidence on this topic.

What was found: Midwife-led care may be a cost-effective model for delivery of obstetric care, and appears to be as safe as medical-led care.

The cost-effectiveness of midwife-led obstetric care in settings outside the UK and Ireland is uncertain.


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