Black Maternal Health Week — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:13 am on 14th September 2021.

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Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 10:13 am, 14th September 2021

I will just finish the point on the office of disparities, because it is quite important. It is a huge step to establish an office that will actually deal with this particular issue. It will tackle inequalities across the country, and will be co-led by the newly-appointed deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jeannelle de Gruchy.

The office will be a vital part of the Department of Health and Social Care, and will drive the prevention agenda across Government to reduce health disparities. I hope the hon. Member for Streatham welcomes the establishment of this new body to tackle the top preventable risk factors for poor health, which include obesity, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption. Equity and equality guidance will also be issued.

It is a huge step to look at those lifetime health experiences that contribute to what happens at the point of delivery and throughout pregnancy. Until we improve, and look at what happens before, using a lifetime view of health that includes women’s experiences of health throughout, then tackling what happens when they walk through a labour ward door will continue to be very difficult.