Implementing a community model of early pregnancy care.
Cox R., Khalid S., Brierly G., Forsyth A., McNamara R., Heppell V., Granne I.
BACKGROUND: In the UK Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAUs) are usually situated alongside hospital maternity and gynaecology services. In June 2018, the Oxford EPAU relocated from the John Radcliffe Hospital to a community clinic. This is to our knowledge, the UK's first community-based EPAU. This change was inspired by our patient feedback describing the co-location of the EPAU with maternity services as distressing. METHODS: Following the introduction of the community EPAU we developed a database to capture information on the patients seen in the clinic. This is a retrospective observational study of a single cohort of patients attending the clinic over an 8 month period. Data was collected from 1st July 2018 to 28th February 2019. This data included clinical, safety and patient experience outcomes. RESULTS: Two thousand nine hundred and twenty patient episodes were recorded, 1,932 were new patients. Mean waiting time to be seen in clinic was 1.3 days. When miscarriage was confirmed 48.6% chose conservative management, 19.9% chose medical management, and 31.5% chose surgical management. The mean rate of ambulance transfers to hospital was 3.1 per month. Of all patients seen in EPAU 32 had unplanned admissions, which accounted for 2.7% of all patients seen in EPAU. Patient feedback questionnaires have been consistently positive. CONCLUSION: The development of a community EPAU has improved services to allow care closer to home in an environment separate from maternity care. Our data shows that a community EPAU can deliver timely, good quality patient care, is safe, and a service valued by patients. Further research is indicated to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of community EPAUs and the long term safety and effectiveness of care.