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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. 

In The News

  • United support for Breastfeeding Week

    Infant Feeding teams and midwives across the Black Country and West Birmingham will be supporting and encouraging mums this National Breastfeeding Week which runs from Monday 27 June until Friday 1 July. This year’s theme is “Everyone has a part to play in helping mums to breastfeed” with a focus on the difference that can be made if everyone supports breastfeeding. And the Black Country and West Birmingham Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) is highlighting the help that is available fo...
  • Mental health and learning disability chief confirmed to lead new NHS Board

    Respected local NHS leader Mark Axcell has been formally appointed as substantive Chief Executive Officer for the Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB).  Following a successful recruitment process, Mr Axcell, who has held the position on an interim basis since November, will now officially become CEO on 1 July when the new NHS organisation launches.   Mr Axcell joins the ICB from his previous role as Chief Executive of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the local...
  • Healthcare professionals encouraged to return to practice

    A special online event will be taking place in June for nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) looking to return to practice. The Return to Practice Programme is for qualified nurses or AHPs who are no longer registered and wish to return to work. Those eligible must have been off the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register for more than two years, or must not have registered within five years from the date of their qualification. Hoste...
  • Chief People Officer appointed to future NHS Board

    A Chief People Officer has been appointed to the executive team for the new Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). Mrs Shajeda Ahmed will take up the role once the ICB formally begins operation, moving to the Black Country from her current role as Executive Director of People, Organisational Development and Inclusion for North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust. As Chief People Officer, she will be responsible for all aspects of staff recruitment, training and wellbeing for the IC...
  • Putting our fantastic midwives in the spotlight

    Today (5 May) is International Day of the Midwife and the Black Country and West Birmingham Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) wants to thank those who make a difference to families across our communities. Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Black Country and West Birmingham CCG, said: “How fantastic that we can make today all about our wonderful midwives. “Once again, we find ourselves talking about another difficult year for them as they have supported mums-to-be a...
  • New appointment to future NHS Board

    The leadership team for the new Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) continues to take shape with the appointment of a new executive. The ICB, which will begin operation on 1 July 2022, has successfully appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer.   The news follows last week’s announcement that the NHS had gone out to advert for a substantive Chief Executive Officer to lead the ICB. The role of Chief Operating Officer will be held by Mr Matthew Hartland, who is currently ...
  • More than 2.6 million COVID-19 vaccines delivered

    Since the start of the vaccination roll-out, more than 2.6 million vaccines have been administered in the Black Country and West Birmingham. More than 980,000 people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, with almost 690,000 taking up at least three doses.   The spring booster programme is also continuing at pace, with almost 47,000 eligible people vaccinated since March. Those eligible for a spring booster include care home residents, people who are 75 and over and those age...
  • Signs and symptoms of asthma

    This World Asthma Day (Tuesday 3 May), health chiefs in the Black Country and West Birmingham are raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of asthma. World Asthma Day is organised by the Global Initiative for asthma, which aims to improve asthma awareness and care. Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults. The main symptoms are a whi...
  • NHS seeks to appoint leader to top system role

    The NHS has today gone out to advert for a substantive Chief Executive Officer to lead the new Black Country Integrated Care Board and play a pivotal role within the local health and care system. Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations, local government and the voluntary sector. These partnerships aim to meet health and care needs, coordinate services and plan in a way that improves the health of local people and reduces inequalities between different gr...
  • Local NHS leaders reflect on COVID-19 pandemic

    Two years on from the first UK lockdown, health chiefs across the Black Country and West Birmingham have paid tribute to staff and members of the public. The declaration of the pandemic was made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January 2020 and the UK went into full lockdown on Monday 23 March 2020. Since then, health and care staff from across the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector have worked in partnership to provide services and support communities, as well as standin...