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Midwives’ and health visitors’ collaborative relationships: a systematic review of qualitative and quantitative studies

Compiled by Vari Drennan, professor of healthcare and policy research, Kingston University and St George’s University of London.

Collaboration between midwifes and health visitors is widely promoted in maternal and child health policy.

Collaborative care
Collaborative care under review. Picture: iStock

This systematic review examined the methods and effectiveness of that collaboration. Fourteen databases were searched and 16 studies included, conducted in Australia, the UK, Sweden, Norway and Canada between 1984 to 2015.

Rare in practice

The studies found that midwives and health visitors valued collaboration, but admitted it was rare in practice.

Collaboration was reported to have utility in antenatal care, transition of care/handover, and postnatal care. However, evidence for the effectiveness of collaboration in the studies was only based on self-report, so was ambiguous.

Communication between the groups was reportedly key, with multiple enablers and barriers identified. There remain many practice-based questions unanswered on this aspect of maternal and child health care.


Aquino MR, Olander EK, Needle JJ et al (2016) International Journal of Nursing Studies. 62 193-206. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2016.08.002

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