Service users across Walsall have been sharing their views with Equality and Inequality Lead Midwife Carol King-Stephens who is working with them to make maternity services more culturally aware and equitable.
Carol took up her role at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust back in March and has been spending time with women who meet at:
Chuckery Primary School
Blue Coat Church of England Junior School
Walsall Black Sisters Collective
Caldmore Community Garden
Nash Dom Community Hub
She said: “I wanted to come and meet our service users in the environments that they feel most comfortable in so that I could speak to them and learn what we as a Trust could do differently.
“So many mums took up the opportunity to share their experiences and feedback and, most importantly, their ideas and suggestions. I spoke to mums whose first language is Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Romanian and Spanish and the quality of these conversations simply wouldn’t have been the same in the hospital environment. They spoke freely because they felt safe and comfortable and they were with trusted friends.
“We talked about a range of topics that matter to them and what became apparent was how vital it is that these women have early access to help and advice to ensure their health and wellbeing before, during and after pregnancy.
“Some offered to work with me to specifically address health inequalities around diabetes as one example, while others wanted to get involved with preventative activities. I found the sessions invaluable and will ensure we keep meeting once a month to keep up the momentum and truly work together to bring about meaningful change.”
Carol’s role is 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.