HomeLifestyleFashionNew NHS taskforce will level-up maternity care and tackle health inequalities

New NHS taskforce will level-up maternity care and tackle health inequalities

A new taskforce has been set up to explore inequalities in maternity care.

The government said it has launched a “Maternity Disparities Taskforce”, to examine the reason why women and their babies from ethnic minority communities, and those from poor neighbourhoods, have worse outcomes.

It comes as data shows black women are 40 per cent more likely to experience a miscarriage than white women, and deprived areas can have higher rates of stillbirths.

For example, the data says Birmingham is one of the “most deprived” areas of the country and has the highest rates of neonatal mortality and stillbirths at 11.4 per 1,000.

Birmingham also has a high number of low birth weight of all babies (9.7 per cent in 2018) and a high prematurity rate.

Minister for women’s health Maria Caulfield said: “For too long disparities have persisted which mean women living in deprived areas or from ethnic monitory backgrounds are less likely to get the care they need, and worse, lose their child.

“We must do better to understand and address the causes of this.

“The Maternity Disparities Taskforce will help level up maternity care across the country, bringing together a wide range of experts to deliver real and ambitious change so we can improve care for all women, and I will be monitoring progress closely.”

The taskforce will examine the social factors linked to poorer health outcomes, and among other actions, will seek to improve personalised care and support plans for mothers.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said: “The NHS’ ambition is to be the safest place in the world to be pregnant, give birth and transition into parenthood all women who use our maternity services should receive the best care possible, which is why the NHS is committed to reducing health inequalities and our Equity & Equality guidance sets out how the NHS will do this.

“We welcome the extra impetus and support that the new taskforce will provide in tackling these important issues and look forward to participating in it.”

The announcement comes on the same day that midwives are calling for an end to charging for services for migrant women, amid safety fears.

The Royal College of Midwives said the Government should scrap charges for migrant women, saying that many put off seeking care because they cannot pay for it.

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