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Urgent changes must be made to ensure maternity care is safer for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women, according to the Royal College of Midwives.
In a motion at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference today, the RCM insisted that more specialist midwives were needed to support pregnant BAME women.
“We urgently need to find out why this disparity in care is happening”
The college also called for greater continuity of care for Black and Asian women, which they said would contribute to a healthier and safer pregnancy.
The motion, which was being put forward during the virtual version of the congress, asked the TUC to lobby the government on the issue. The 2020 TUC Congress is taking place on 14 and 15 September.
The college highlighted that it was putting the issue forward as part of its ‘Race Matters’ campaign, which was launched earlier this year.
The targeted campaign aims to raise awareness among pregnant women from BAME backgrounds about the help that is available for them during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the motion, the RCM highlighted that Black pregnant women were eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and that Asian women were four times as likely.
The RCM now wants to see a review of what was needed to improve maternity care and to make pregnancy safer for BAME women.
Zeenath Uddin, head of quality and safety at the RCM, said: “We urgently need to find out why this disparity in care is happening.
“This means a root and branch review of the resources needed to improve care, looking at existing research to find out what works and investing in any extra resources identified in the review to make pregnancy safer for Black and Asian women.”
She added: “One of the key pledges in the RCM’s Race Matters campaign is pressing for positive changes for pregnant women from BAME backgrounds, and we will continue to push for this.
“All pregnant women have a right to safe care and being black or Asian should not mean that your care is less safe than someone who is White. This is not good enough and needs to change and change quickly.”
In another motion, the RCM also called for an early and significant pay rise for midwives and other NHS staff.
This comes after another round of pay protests by NHS workers this weekend.
Nursing Times contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.