Good information sharing between professionals is essential to identify and support vulnerable families. Many case reviews flagged poor information sharing between professionals involved in perinatal care.
Pregnant women are able to access antenatal care either through the general practitioner or directly with the community midwife. In practice, this can result in a GP not knowing that their patient is pregnant. When GPs and midwives are not obliged to share information, there is some scope for women to fall through the net of services. Although it is rare, vulnerable women, who refuse to engage with services or may be denying or concealing a pregnancy, are particularly at risk of not receiving the care they need.
Some case reviews criticised the system of assigning health visitors to a geographical area rather than a specific GP. This can result in little or no information being exchanged between health visitors and family GPs.
Information sharing is also compromised when the full range of health professionals working with a family fail to attend child protection conferences and core groups. Absent GPs, midwives and paediatricians are not able to give first-hand accounts of their involvement with families, which leaves other members of the group to interpret information which can result in important nuances being lost.