Perinatal surveys are a form of medical-nursing peer review conducted by representatives from the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia. All Nova Scotia hospitals that have a perinatal service participate. Requests from hospitals outside the province are undertaken on a cost recovery basis and scheduled as time permits. There are generally 3-4 people on a survey team: an obstetrician, a neonatologist and one or two nurses. The team members conduct a chart and perinatal facility review and interview hospital and community-based staff connected with the perinatal service in a particular facility (e.g. chiefs of obstetrics and pediatrics, staff nurses, nurse managers, public health nurses, general practitioners who provide obstetrics services, representatives from associated clinical services such as diagnostic imaging and anesthesia, health records staff, senior administrative personnel, etc.). The entire survey generally takes one or two days, depending on the size of the hospital and the number of individuals involved in perinatal health care.
Following the survey, a report is sent to senior medical, nursing, and administrative personnel within six months of the visit. The report usually includes a number of recommendations and is completely confidential. The expectation is that the report will be disseminated to the individuals involved with the survey and to any others whom the hospital managers feel should review the recommendations. Within 6-9 months of the hospital's receipt of the report, the RCP survey team makes a return visit. The purpose of the return visit is to follow up on the recommendations made and to seek feedback about the survey process and the relevance of the subsequent report.