Maternity Services: Ethnic Groups

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 15th November 2021.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve maternal outcomes for black women.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

To support NHS maternity services improve maternal outcomes for black women, NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and Equality: Guidance for Local Maternity Systems’, which can be found at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/C0734-equity-and-equality-guidance-for-local-maternity-systems.pdf

This guidance asks Local Maternity Systems (LMS) to produce an equity and equality analysis (covering health outcomes, community assets and staff experience) by 30 November 2021 and to co-produce an equity and equality action plan by 28 February 2022.

LMS are being asked to include evidence-based interventions that have been demonstrated to improve maternal outcomes in their action plans: implement maternal medicine networks with key performance indicators relating to outcomes and equalities; offer referral to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to women with a previous gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) diagnosis who are not currently pregnant and do not currently have diabetes. Women of Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian ethnic groups are at high risk of developing GDM, so this intervention helps improve prevention and early detection of Type 2 diabetes; implement maternal mental health services with a focus on access by ethnicity; ensure personalised care and support plans are available to all, which has a positive impact on health inequalities; ensure the Maternity Voices Partnerships reflect the ethnic diversity of the local population, to encourage the uptake of services among those that may be reluctant to get involved and design interventions that are relevant to the local population, improving outcomes for black women.

LMS are also being asked to include plans to deliver the NHS Long-Term Plan commitment for targeted and enhanced Continuity of Carer with 75% of women from Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic groups receiving Continuity of Carer by 2024 and additional midwifery time to support women from the most deprived areas. Women who receive Continuity of Carer are 16% less likely to lose their baby and have an improved experience of care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing £6.8m to support LMS to implement their Equity and Equality Action Plans.

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