Maternity Services: Migrants

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 25 April 2022.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' position statement on Equitable access to maternity care for refugee, asylum seeking and undocumented migrant women, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to high quality interpretation services in maternity care in order to reduce disparities in maternity outcomes for migrant women.

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

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ ‘Language interpreting and translation: migrant health guide’ provides advice for healthcare practitioners on the health needs of migrant patients, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/language-interpretation-migrant-health-guide

The guidance states it is the responsibility of National Health Service providers to ensure that interpreting and translation services are made available to patients free at the point of delivery.

On 6 September 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and equality: Guidance for local maternity systems’, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/C0734-equity-and-equality-guidance-for-local-maternity-systems.pdf

It asks local maternity systems to consider the impact of language on women’s needs and ensure personalised care and support plans are available in a range of languages. The guidance directs staff to resources to support communication between healthcare staff and ethnic minority pregnant women, including the ‘Help us help you’ maternity campaign, a communications toolkit and the interpretation and translation services framework.

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