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  • House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee: Black maternal health. Third Report of Session 2022–23 (29 March 2023)

    • UK
    • Reports and articles
    • Pre-existing
    • Public domain
    • No
    • House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee
    • 18/04/23
    • Everyone


    In the UK, maternal mortality for Black women is currently almost four times higher than for White women, and significant disparities also exist for women of Asian and mixed ethnicity. In this report the Women’s and Equalities Select Committee reviews what is currently understood about the reasons for disparities in maternal deaths, analyses Government and NHS action to date and existing recommendations for change and consider the ongoing challenges to addressing disparities.


    The report sets out the following recommendations:

    Causes of maternal health disparities

    • Health Education England must lead a co-ordinated review involving the National Midwifery Council, General Medical Council, Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to ensure that both the training curricula and continuing professional development requirements for all maternity staff include evidence-based learning on maternal health disparities, its possible causes, and how to deliver culturally competent, personalised and evidence-led care.

    Tackling the disparities—work undertaken to date

    • The Government should commit to increasing the annual budget for maternity services to £200–350 million from the next financial year.
    • The Government should publish measures for gauging the success of the Maternity Disparities Taskforce. It should commit to publishing the dates of meetings in advance, and the minutes of the meetings soon after. The Taskforce should update this Committee on a six-monthly basis on the progress the Taskforce has made to tackling maternal health disparities.
    • NHS England should set out their approach for assessing and monitoring the strategies of local maternity services. The Government should also provide clear timescales for the roll-out of the maternal morbidity indicator.
    • There should be a cross-government target and strategy, led by the Department of Health and Social Care, for eliminating maternal health disparities. The Maternity Disparities Taskforce should be charged with consulting on this strategy within its membership and more widely, and for proposing and developing metrics by which this target can be achieved and measured.

    Research and data

    • The Office for National Statistics, NHS England, hospital trusts and all relevant stakeholders should work with the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) to minimise delays in the delivery of data. The NPEU should provide us with a progress update on this work within 12 months of the date of publication of this report.
    • NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) and NHS Digital must prioritise the accurate and complete capture of ethnicity data and ensure their new system for ethnicity data captures granular level data on ethnicity. NHSEI should provide us with a progress update on the implementation of this system within 12 months of the date of publication of this report.
    • The Maternity Disparities Taskforce must ensure a minimum number of seats or spaces at each meeting is reserved for representatives of organisations run by and for Black women. Part of the Taskforce’s focus over the next 12 months should be on working with stakeholders to ensure Black women can be better represented in maternal health research; both as participants and researchers.
    House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee: Black maternal health. Third Report of Session 2022–23 (29 March 2023) https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/38989/documents/191706/default/
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