Special Interest Groups


All managers and clinicians of member maternity & newborn services are welcome to participate in one or more of WHA's Special Interest Groups (SIGs).  The SIGs are formed in response to interest from members and focus on particular projects or themes of common interest.  Most are multidisciplinary, focusing on a common theme like safety & quality in maternity care or care of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies.  Some are for individuals in defined roles, such as CEOs, medical or nursing executives, or unit managers.  

The SIGs make it easy for peers across the women's health sector to connect with one another, ask questions of each other, provide advice and share resrouces.   Participants drive the agenda for each meeting, give presentations or briefings about their own service or issue and discuss common challenges & strategies for overcoming them.  Inspiring innovations are regularly shared too.

SIG meetings generally occur via web conferences, and are supplemented by on-line discussion and annual face-to-face meetings. All SIGs are supported by the WHA team.  To register your interest in participating in one or more of WHA's SIGs contact our Networking Coordinator.  



Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women's and Children's Care

This Special Interest Group (SIG) is open to managers, clinicians and Aboriginal health workers from WHA member hospitals interested in networking on this important area of practice and care. Topics which are currently being discussed include:

  • Providing advice to the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence's Indigenous reference group
  • Diabetes – management through pregnancy
  • Establishment of Midwifery Group Practice services dedicated to the provision of antenatal, birth and postnatal care for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women & their families.

Allied Health

The Allied Health Special Interest Group is a multidisciplinary group of Allied Health Managers that incorporates both women's and children's care. The SIG covers a variety of topics.  Current topics of interest include:

  • Engaging with parents & carers,
  • Red flag issues,
  • Identify appropriate pathway and trigger referrals
  • Opportunity to provide Multi D “harm Free” clinical handouts

Clinical Educators

This Special Interest Group offers the opportunity for clinicians involved in coordinating and delivering education to midwifery & medical staff in maternity services to network with one another. Issues currently of interest include:

  • WHA's Collaborative to reduce rates of 3rd-4th Degree Perineal Tears
  • Frameworks & systems for planning & delivering mandatory training to maternal & newborn service staff
  • Falls Prevention
  • Growth Charts and estimation of fetal weight
  • Induction of labour and booking systems

Directors of Nursing and Midwifery

This Special Interest Group provides an opportunity for Nursing & Midwifery Directors to discuss challenges and initiatives within their services. Topics currentlly being discussed include:

  • Establishing Safety Huddles to strengthen a safety culture
  • The design & implementation of the Neonatal Sepsis Calculator created by Kind Edward Memorial Hospital
  • WHA's Collaborative Improvement project on reducing the rate of 3rd & 4th Degree perineal tears
  • Maintaining & expanding successful Midwifery Group Practice services
  • Innovation and improvements on LoS

Maternity Services

This Special Interest Group focuses predominantly on the Birth Suite environment and is focused on sharing best practice within this context. Some of the topics which are currently being discussed include:

  • Preparation for a new build and planning for a move into a new hospital
  • NEWT - recognizing & responding to deterioration in neonate in the maternity setting
  • The Maternity Hospital in the Home serrvice at Monash Health
  • The use of online Antenatal Registration Forms and Website and engaging with consumer in their design
  • Issues related to provision of services in an Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) – Lyell McEwin Hospital SA

Midwifery Group Practice

This Special Interest Group is open to midwives, obstetricians and managers involved with Midwifery Group Practices.  The SIG regularly discusses a wide range of topics related to establishing, sustaining & expanding MGP services, including:

  • Benchmarking outcomes of care for women accessing MGPs
  • Technological applications to support MGP workforce – timesheet, mobiles etc.
  • Inter-professional collaboration especially for rural services.
  • GDM women staying in low risk MGP model – e.g. The Women’s Hospital's Midwives are Diabetic Champions program

NICU and Special Care Nurseries

This Special Interest Group brings together medical and nursing staff from both Neonatal Intensive Care and Special Care Nurseries in member hospitals to discuss issues of common interest or concern & share ideas on enhancing services.  Topics currently of interest include:

focused on the re-build of SCN & NICU – planning, design and move day strategies. Topics which are covered include:

  • Re-build of SCN & NICU facilities – planning, design (e.g. open plan vs single/double units) and move day strategies.
  • Neonate Sepsis and the Neonatal Early Onset Sepsis Calculator (KEMH WA)
  • Feeding intervention for babies >32 weeks gestation – cot positioning, pumps vs gravity feeds on the frequency of respiratory events 
  • Sucrose, Music Therapy and the combination of the two for pain relief for babies in NICU

Perinatal Mental Health 

WHA has identified that there is a strong desire to learn and share information regarding the challenges of providing support internally and accessing external community services and the innovation in Perinatal Mental Health. Evidence suggests that mental health in pregnancy and after is becoming significant component of Clinical and Midwifery care. Topics being discussed so far include: 

  • Mapping perinatal mental health services across Australia 
  • Comparison of public mother baby psychiatric units in Australia: similarities, strengths and recommendations 
  • UK Mind and Body Maternity Experience:  co-design with women, families and clinicians. 

    Safety and Quality in Maternity Care

    This multidisciplinary group brings together obstetricians, midwives, service managers and Quality & Safety Managers from across the membership to share data, research & strategies for reducing unwarranted variation in clinical care & improving outcomes for women and newborns.  This group was a driving influence on the establishment of WHA's first national collaborative improvement project (on Perineal Tears).  Area of interest to participants include:

    • Detection of reduced fetal movements at term
    • Changing evidence on best practice care for women requiring Induction of Labour
    • Management of Postpartum haemorrhage & strategies to reduce rates and severity
    • Reducing rates of 3rd & fourth degree perineal tears & improving recognition & response to perineal trauma
    • Reducing rates of first time Caesarean Section

    Rural & Regional Maternity Services

    This Special Interest Group was established in 2015 to support maternity units with fewer than 500 births per annum to support one another in the provision of safe, quality maternity care to local families.  Issues are currently being discussed include:

    • Providing culturally supportive maternity care
    • Clinical Governance – How best to support & provide safe maternity care with significant workforce pressures
    • Models of care for meeting the needs of families across regions rather than just at individual rural hospitals
    • Rural Birthing Index Study
    • Expanding the Midwifery pool – potential midwifery students
    • Retirement and part time – How do services manage workforce transition
    • Strategies for attracting and retaining maternity staff 

      Women's Hospitals Performance & Efficiency

      The WHA Performance & Efficiency Special interest Group has been established at the request of the CEOs of the large services, to enable financial, information and system managers from the large tertiary women's & newborns services to network with one another to enhance performance & resource utilisation.  The group has recently been discussing: 

      • Annual Inpatient Activity & Costing Benchmarking results related to maternal, newborn and women's health services
      • Policy issues related to the deisgn and classification of maternity & newborn patients, e.g. the designof a bundled maternity price, or changing classifications for inpatient care
      • Ongoing discussion about uniformity & reliability of Neonate Costing Methodology that impacts on all services caring for high cost, very small neonates
      • Opportunities to achieve efficiencies or enhance revenue to support the provision of high quality services to women & families