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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1987 Apr;1(1):57-66.

The St. Thomas's Hospital maternity case notes study: a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of giving expectant mothers their own maternity case notes.

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Department of General Practice, UMDS, St. Thomas's Hospital, London, UK.


At an antenatal clinic in St. Thomas's Hospital, London, 246 expectant mothers were randomly allocated to hold either their own maternity case notes or the standard co-operation card. Information was collected on three occasions during their care on attitudes and health behaviour. Clinical outcomes were recorded and the effects of the two systems on clinic administration were observed. More of the notes group expressed satisfaction with most aspects of their care and delivery and significantly more of the notes group felt well informed and satisfied with their companion during labour. There were no differences in clinical outcomes between the two groups except that, for no identifiable systematic reason, there were more assisted deliveries among the notes group. A number of administrative advantages resulted from mothers holding their own notes and although initial reservations were found amongst professional staff interviewed at the start of the study, the results proved persuasive and the practice of giving mothers their own notes is now to be extended throughout the department.

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