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Healthier Futures - Maternity and neonatal

Our vision for maternity and neonatal services in the Black Country and West Birmingham

Maternity and Neonatal In March 2017 clinicians from across the Black Country and West Birmingham came together to agree a shared vision for the future provision of maternity services for the people of Dudley, Sandwell & West Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton. 

The ambitious vision set by our clinical leaders is that “through collaboration, we will deliver a high quality maternity service across the Black Country and West Birmingham that is shaped by the voice of our women.  Our maternity services will be safe, personalised and responsive to ensure every woman and baby receives the best possible care”.

Maternity services in the Black Country and West Birmingham face significant challenges. The Local Maternity System (LMS) serves a population that is diverse, in many areas facing high levels of deprivation and poor health and with a growing demand for maternity services. Some of our current services already face capacity pressures and are operating limits on choice of location to help manage these. There is lots of work to do to ensure that our services respond to the challenge set out nationally in Better Births to become more personalised and more responsive

Population level data

The Black Country and West Birmingham has a 1.5 million population with an estimated 46% living in the most deprived areas of England.

Our population has significant poor health with higher than most England averages for a range of health issues including infant and premature mortality, smoking in pregnancy, obesity and diabetes.  

There are a range of contributing factors including high levels of deprivation and teenage conceptions, compounded by variable engagement and uptake of health and public health initiatives to improve outcomes for our population:

  • The Depression rate is 7.4% which is higher than the England average of 7.3% and is recorded at 8.6% in Dudley (Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Plan 2016 to 2021 – see hyperlink above).
  • The Infant Mortality rate is much higher in the Black Country and West Birmingham compared to the England rate of 4.0 deaths per 1,000 (Walsall is 6.8, Sandwell & West Birmingham is 6.9, and Wolverhampton is 6.8).
  • The Smoking in Pregnancy rate across the Black Country and West Birmingham (linked to infant mortality) is similar to the England average (11.1%) but Wolverhampton has a rate of 16.2%. We know that teenage mothers are more likely to smoke and are less likely to breastfeed which means their babies are less likely to receive the nutrition this approach provides.
  • Diabetes prevalence is much higher in the Black Country and West Birmingham compared to the rest of England, with Sandwell and West Birmingham reaching over 9% (England 6.4%). The percentage of physically inactive adults is 32.6% (England 27.7%).
  • The Premature Mortality rate for Respiratory Disease in the Black Country and West Birmingham is higher than the England average rate of 28.1 per 100,000 (Sandwell & West Birmingham has a rate of 38.1 and Wolverhampton has a rate of 40.9). The estimated smoking prevalence level in the Black Country and West Birmingham (20.3%) is higher than the rest of England figure (18.4%). Walsall and Wolverhampton rates are 21.5% and 20.7%, respectively. 

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