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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:28 am on 14th September 2021.

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Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 10:28 am, 14th September 2021

I have intervened, Mr Hollobone, because I think we have time. I probably should have also mentioned the Maternity Inequalities Oversight Forum, which is due to meet again next week. I do not want to give the impression that the new office which we are launching on 1 October will replace all the other work and everything else that we are doing. The Maternity Inequalities Oversight Forum still meets and, on the question about how it informs policy, it works hand in hand with the board of equalities and disparities. As the hon. Lady knows, we also have the patient safety board.

I can assure her that at all meetings, when we talk about maternal inequalities, the situation is something which has to be addressed and turned around in whatever way we can. This is why the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is being established. We have to turn around the dreadful, appalling figures which pertain solely and uniquely to black women’s experience of maternity. I want her to understand that all the rest of the work is still going on, because this remains a focus in the Department. I urge her to keep calling her debates and to keep raising the issue, because it helps to drive things forward and helps us to develop acceptable and welcomed policies. I thank her for recognising the work of the disparities and inequalities board; it is just another tool that we put into the box to help fight a much bigger problem that we have to solve.