North East London Health and Care Partnership releases maternity strategy

North East London Health and Care Partnership has released a maternity equity and equality strategy with the aim of ensuring “high quality, safe, equitable and personalised care for all our communities”.

Priot to this strategy, in 2021 the North East London Local Maternity and Neonatal System (NEL LMNS) constructed a needs assessment to analyse outcomes and data for women in communities. This highlighted that certain communities were poorer in outcomes and experiences than others.

Engagement was then undertaken by Healthwatch and Maternity Mates, using surveys, interviews and focus groups with maternity service users, their families, advocates and maternity staff. Over 1000 responses were gathered to develop an understanding of the experiences and expectations of service users, with the engagement focusing on themes such as communication, information sharing and consent.

The partnership notes that by “bringing an equity lens to all our work, specifically for those from Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic backgrounds and those living in the most deprived areas”, they can work to understand and adapt practice to meet the cultural and social needs of the pregnant women using the services.

The strategy vision includes ensuring communication is accessible, transparent and kind; ensuring that a culture of trauma-informed care is developed to better inform practice and provide more positive experiences; and ensuring that the partnership supports health and wellbeing of staff by providing the resources and tools they need to care for pregnant women.

The action plan set out in the strategy will provide a direction for maternity units in North East London with each unit having a localised plan.

Worked on collaboratively by public health colleagues, maternity staff and Healthwatch and Maternity Voices Partnership Chairs, the plan aims to better meet the needs of service users and will create new ways of working ensuring personalised care.

Read the strategy in full here.