A new Equality and Inequality Lead Midwife will take up her role within Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust tomorrow with the aim of making its services more culturally aware and equitable across the borough for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and families.
Carol King-Stephens is taking up the role for a year and says she is relishing the opportunity to make a difference and to both support and encourage communities to use the services they need.
“This is the first time we have had this role in our organisation but I think it is really needed,” said the mother-of-three who has worked in Walsall Healthcare since 1990.
“I want our service users to feel they will be listened to as we work to make our services more culturally aware. I have sadly had personal experience of not being listened to and know how disempowering and frustrating this can be when you’re feeling at your most vulnerable. Engagement with our service users will be one of the most important areas to focus on, working with colleagues from other areas such as our Health in Pregnancy support workers.”
Carol said the role will be aligned with MBRRACE (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audit and Confidential Enquiries) reports. MBRRACE is a national audit programme and is commissioned by all UK governments to collect information about all late fetal losses, stillbirths, neonatal deaths and maternal deaths across the UK. The programme tracks information about where and why babies and mothers die every year.
“This role is based on research – research that is compelling and that tells a story for all those women and families who turn to the Trust for support and care,” said Carol. “This data, added to what we know happens locally, is the basis for everything we need to do. I was really concerned, as one example, to discover that the referral rate for mental health support is just 22% among Black and Asian Minority Ethnic women. That concerns me and should concern all of us.
“I am looking forward to getting started and creating a platform for those who are under represented to find their voice as well as educating colleagues to address disparities to provide better outcomes for our women.”
Carol, who enjoys boxercise in her free time, is already making connections with colleagues across the Black Country including Sandwell and West Birmingham’s EDI midwife Afrah Muflihi.