On Thursday 5 October, our first ever network collaboration event took place in recognition of Black History Month. This year’s theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters’, and in honour of that, the Race Eqaulity Network (REN) collaborated with the Women’s Network to raise awareness of maternal health inequalities faced by people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The event was opened by Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer Salman Desai, who is also the REN’s executive sponsor. He said, “Maternal health inequalities faced by people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds continue to be a significant problem. Black women are almost four times more likely to die from maternity-related causes than white women. Significant disparities also exist for those of Asian and mixed ethnicity. While the reasons behind these inequalities are complex, this event will touch upon some important topics and allow us to consider the impact of these inequalities from a patient safety and staff wellbeing perspective.”
The rest of the morning consisted of lightning talks from external specialists Waheeda Abbas, Genomics Midwifery Lead and Alexandra Murphy, Public Health, Prevention and Early Intervention Strategic Clinical Manager. They both used case studies from their acute trusts to share learning and best practice to help us make improvements within our own service.
Leads from our Health and Wellbeing Team, newly appointed trust chaplain and Freedom To Speak Up Team all took to the stage to remind their fellow colleagues of the channels already on offer to ensure they are looking after themselves and feel able to raise any concerns to improve experiences for both staff and patients.
Dr Steph Heys, Consultant Midwife and Susan Rhind, Paramedic, held a workshop exploring ways in which NWAS could reduce health inequalities amongst maternity and newborn patients and many colleagues identified ways in which improvements could be made within their own service lines, and committed to seeing these through. This was followed by an insight and learning outcomes session by Jemma Ashcroft, AP, and Natalye Standage SPTL.
Wesley Proverbs, Chair of the REN and Paramedic, and Emily Gibbs, Co-Chair of the Women’s Network and Knowledge Manager, drew the day to a close by highlighting why days like these are integral to the service to help us identify gaps in our own practice and how we can improve.