Health and race inequalities in maternity services 'unacceptable'

12 October 2023

Responding to the new Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries report, which shows increasing inequalities in maternity services across the UK, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"While giving birth in the UK remains safe by global standards, the worsening health and race inequalities within maternity services are unacceptable.

"Women from black ethnic backgrounds are four times more likely to die, and women from Asian ethnic backgrounds are twice as likely to die, compared with white women.

"Maternal mortality rates are also highest for women living in the most deprived areas.

"Trust leaders are committed to addressing these disparities and improving the quality of care in maternity services, but much more needs to be done to ensure all mothers receive the same level of care and support during pregnancy and childbirth.

"National support for a holistic approach to maternal mental health, including education for new mothers, could help prevent suicide – the leading cause of post-pregnancy deaths.

"Collaboration with the local community, charities, and other healthcare providers could help trusts implement measures to improve access and experiences of personalised care, especially in deprived areas."