How midwives are using GNCR to support expectant parents

We spoke to Digital Midwife, Gayle Thompson, about how the GNCR helps her, and her colleagues deliver antenatal care across North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Gayle has worked as a community midwife for 23 years – providing antenatal care across North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Now a Digital Midwife, Gayle leads on the digitisation of maternity and antenatal records and communication for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust implemented BadgerNet, an electronic patient record system for maternity back in 2022, replacing their paper notes and communication.

How Gayle uses the Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record (GNCR) was launched at Northumbria in tandem with BadgerNet – allowing midwives to access patient information alongside pregnancy specific notes.

This is particularly important when patients receive care across different Trusts. Many pregnant people in North Tyneside and Northumberland receive care from the Royal Victoria Infirmary, which is based in a neighbouring Trust (The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust). Before GNCR, information and communication would be limited to handwritten notes and letters. Now Gayle and her colleagues have all the information they need about a patient’s experience in a difference Trust through the GNCR.

“You can see exactly where a patient has been, what department. You can even drill a bit deeper and see who has seen the patient – so it bridges that gap and makes us feel more connected to other Trusts. There’s a collaborative working approach that it enables.”

Why the Great North Care Record makes a difference

There are several ways the GNCR has made an impact in the delivery of care for parents in the North East and North Cumbria.

“There’s nothing more important than safeguarding mums and babies”
When it comes to pregnancy and maternity, things can change very quickly for a patient, and it is incredibly important for midwives like Gayle to be as up-to-date as possible. For example, if someone suffers a loss in pregnancy and is treated in hospital, a community midwife has immediate access to that information, meaning they won’t follow up for further check-ups. They can also provide the right support to that woman when it’s most needed. Before the GNCR was in place, Gayle would not have been aware of what had happened to a patient until they were due their next check-up appointment with her.

“It’s the quickening up and streamlining of that process of sharing information so that if I get notified that that woman has had a loss, I can still make contact with her, but that I’m making contact with her for the right reason to offer her support and guidance.”
“It’s an additional place, and a better place, to find that information. In my experience when it’s in an email or a discharge letter/notification from acute to primary care, it can sit in an in-tray weeks before it’s scanned into the GP records – that could be weeks that women has gone without potential support.”

Additionally, Gayle says it can provide more information than just a GP record alone can offer. For example – if a patient has a long standing mental health history and not all of it is documented in the GP system – seeing other service records on the GNCR helps midwives see a more holistic view of a patient, which can help them provide the right support for the individual.

“It makes the care less fragmented. It’s there for you to look at and review, decide whether you need to do anything about it. It helps make sure that the patients are on the correct care pathway as well.”

The GNCR also saves a significant amount of time for Gayle and her colleagues. By having all the information in one place, they do not need to log into multiple systems to get information about an individual. This has meant that midwives across the North East and North Cumbria have been able to spend more time with patients, rather than catching up on paperwork.

“It gives you an extra 10/15 minutes perhaps, which you could use to care for your patient on a face-to-face basis – and that you’re not stuck in your computer looking at all these different systems. It saves a valuable amount of time which you could be using to support your patients.”