Pregnant women are feeling increasingly deserted by the health system, says a new study.
The authors of a new King's Fund report have found that the declining role of GPs in maternity care is leading some pregnant women with no idea where to turn if they suffer from health problems.
Their report shows how the role of GPs in looking after pregnant women has all but disappeared - despite the fact that family doctors often know a woman's medical history better than anyone.
Government policies now mean that GPs are no longer paid for each pregnant woman they care for, and, in addition, many GPs have opted out of providing out of hours care, resulting in sick pregnant women going to A&E instead of their GPs.
Nick Goodwin, director of the Fund's GP Inquiry, told the Daily Telegraph that such care was increasingly dealt with by specialists, which had led to a less connected service for pregnant women.
He said: 'As a result of that, you get reports that some mothers feel a bit abandoned at the beginning of their pregnancy. Who is looking after them?'
Anna Dixon, lead author of the report ant director of policy at the King's Fund said: 'It is right that those with specialist skills, such as midwives and obstetricians, take the lead role in caring for pregnant women, but GPs have a vital role to play in pre-conception and shared antenatal and post natal care.'
What do you think?
Did you or do you feel abandoned by the health system?
Would you like your GP to be more involved in your care?