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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

  • Liz delighted at inclusion in New Year Honours for COVID-19 work

    A primary care nurse advisor from NHS Black Country and West Birmingham has been included in the New Year Honours List for her contribution to patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Liz Corrigan is General Practice Nursing Professional Lead for the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and has worked in various nursing roles in the local area over the last 25 years. Liz, who lives in Wolverhampton, has been honoured with the British Empire Medal fo...

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  • Local health leaders show support for carers during Carers Week 2020

    Heath bosses in the Black Country and West Birmingham are celebrating the role of carers as part of national Carers Week, especially because of the important contributions they have made during the coronavirus pandemic. This week (8-14 June 2020) is Carers Week – a national awareness initiative highlighting the important work being done by carers in the community – and local health leaders in the Black Country and West Birmingham are supporting this important campaign. Jonathan Fellows, Indepe...

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  • Health chiefs encourage people to visit pharmacies first

    As part of the national Help Us, Help You campaign, health bosses in the Black Country and West Birmingham are encouraging people to visit their pharmacy for advice on minor injuries and ailments. Research shows that 27 percent of general practice appointments in England could potentially be treated elsewhere. Approximately 18 million of these could be treated through self-care and community pharmacies. Many pharmacies are open late, making it easier than ever to get advice. They can advise yo...

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  • NHS rapid response team helps frail older patients

    Against a background of an ageing population and increasing frailty, one NHS Trust has identified opportunities to provide a service targeted at this patient group. The initiative is designed to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions through the emergency front door and keep frail older people safe in their own homes.  Emma Hibbs, Advanced Physiotherapist at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, explains: “We know that nationally around 50% of the population aged 65+ live with...

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  • Healthier Futures partnership secures funding to develop system-wide digital app

    The Healthier Futures partnership (Black Country & West Birmingham STP) has been awarded NHS funding following a successful pitch, to develop a healthcare app which will increase access to services for the local population. The NHS has identified funding to accelerate worthwhile projects across the country, inviting bids from all systems. A very limited number of organisations were invited to pitch to their respective regional digital teams and the Healthier Futures partnership has been su...

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  • It’s all aboard for popular NHS event

    The next stops for a popular NHS event have been confirmed in the Black Country. More than 200 people flocked to the big NHS red bus in Walsall City Centre to bag advice and freebies to help them keep well this Winter. NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across the Black Country are behind the events, which aim to raise awareness of the simple steps people can take to keep well during winter. The importance of getting the flu vaccine, how keeping warm can help keep illnesses at bay and reminding...

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  • Check in on vulnerable people this Christmas

    People in the Black Country and West Birmingham are being advised to wrap up warm over the winter season and to look out for vulnerable people during the Christmas and New Year period. Local people are being asked to remember older relatives, friends and neighbours as well as other vulnerable people at this time of year. The over 65s and those with long-term health conditions or disabilities are at increased risk of illness during the winter months. It is important to regularly check in on ol...

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  • Black Country mental health employment service to expand support to local people

    A local service that helps people with severe mental illness to find employment, has successfully obtained additional funding from NHS England to expand its service in the Black Country. The NHS Five Year Forward View (2014) recognises that the employment rate of people with severe and enduring mental health problems is the lowest of all disability groups at just 7%. Furthermore, mental health problems now account for more than twice the number of Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity...

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  • Dr Doreen Tipton says get the flu jab!

    Doreen Tipton joins health professionals to urge patients across the Black and West Birmingham to get their free flu jabs before the winter sets in. In a video launched by Futureproof Health, the Black Country comic icon Doreen Tipton, played by actress Gill Jordan reminds residents that it’s time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families with a free flu jab. Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness fo...

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  • Service to cut A&E visits from “frequent callers” in the Black Country a Success

    Vulnerable patients are benefitting from a new frequent user project across the Black Country and West Birmingham. A one-year evaluation of the project commissioned by Dudley CCG and Dudley CVS has shown that in those patients who frequently attend A&E, there was a 33% reduction in attendances and a 41% reduction in inpatient admissions, saving the NHS more than £500,000. Delivered by the Dudley CVS Integrated Plus social prescribing team and match-funded by Dudley CCG and the Department o...

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