The Royal College of Midwives have called for targeted investment and resources towards reducing poorer outcomes for Black women in maternity care.
This comes after a report by the Women and Equalities Committee found that Black women are almost four times more likely to die from childbirth than White women.
This committee have also called on the government to set a target to eliminate the ‘appalling‘ disparities in maternal deaths.
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Maternal deaths in deprived areas are increasing with women in the most deprived areas being two and a half times more likely to die than those in the least deprived.
The committee highlight maternity staffing shortages as a barrier to tackling inequalities and implementing safety measures such as continuity of carer.
Chair of the Committee, RT Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said: ‘We need to see a sustained uplift in funding to bolster a workforce that has been stretched to its limits. We are also afraid the Government and NHS have not fully grasped that racism has played a key part in the complex reasons underlying the disparities, and that eradicating it is part of the solution.’
The RCM have produced a range of resources and initiatives to support midwives and maternity staff to deliver better care for Black women and those from other BAME communities.
In response to the committee report, RCM chief executive, Gill Walton said: ‘ Black and Asian women are too often not being listened to by staff on the frontline, nor are their voices being heard by those running and designing maternity services: this must change. We must eradicate the gap once and for all and make maternity care safe for everyone.’
Walton also mentioned that the investment going into maternity services is not enough and is not reaching the frontline quick enough.
‘No matter how hard midwives and their colleagues work, without the training and resources they need they can at best just chip away at improving care and outcomes for Black women and all women. This is a failure of government policy and a lack of political will to invest adequately in maternity services and the women they care for.’