Agenda item

Refreshing the Leeds Maternity Strategy

To consider the report of the Leeds Maternity Programme Board that informs the Health and Wellbeing Board of the decision to centralise maternity and neonatal hospital services and of the benefits this will bring; and sets the developments within the local, regional and national context.


The Leeds Maternity Programme Board submitted a report that provided an overview of refreshing the Leeds Maternity Strategy. The Chair noted that before the meeting, members took part in a listening exercise to hear the experiences of people from different Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and how they experience the maternity service. The Chair thanked the people who spoke to the Board and the importance of putting people’s voices at the heart of decision making.

The following were in attendance:


-  Jane Mischenko, Lead Commissioner for Children and Maternity, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group

-  Sue Gibson, Head of Midwifery, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Representatives delivered a presentation, highlighting the following:


·  Maternity services as a strength for the city and an example of the health and care system working together positively in an integrated way to give every baby having the best possible start in Leeds.

·  Priorities identified for the next five years are strongly informed by both local population data from the Leeds Maternity Health Needs Assessment (available on the Leeds Observatory) which was completed in 2020 and welcomed as a great resource for the partnership in refreshing the strategy, and the insight that comes from listening to what matters to the women and families of Leeds;

·  Leeds has been rated amongst the top 5 for staff kindness, patient experience and overall quality of care in the last two years;

·  Upcoming reconfiguration of hospital maternity services into one of the new hospitals;

·  Significant health inequalities in the city, in line with the national picture, people from Black and Asian communities have poorer access and outcomes, which is addressed as a key priority in the refreshed strategy moving forward.

·  Overview of the proposed draft priorities of the refreshed Leeds Maternity Strategy, which has been drawn from the data and various routes of engagements.


Members discussed a number of matters, including:


·  Members thanked Jane Mischenko, Sue Gibbs, their teams and the approach taken by the Leeds Maternity Programme Board in refreshing the Leeds Maternity Strategy and the reconfiguration of hospital maternity services welcoming the level of engagement, which was highlighted as good practice.

·  Members emphasised the importance of ensuring our engagement reaches people who would not normally participate in formal consultations and welcomed the approaches taken to enable this.

·  Ensuring that people continue to be fully supported in accessing maternity services during COVID-19 and welcomed the focus on putting women and families at the heart of those services.

·  Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Members highlighted the need for future strategic plans to include specific focus on public awareness of drug and alcohol misuse during pregnancy, and early detection and diagnosis of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. It was noted that the Best Start Plan addresses health and wellbeing of expectant mothers from conception, and specifically addresses the risks of drug and alcohol misuse and around the wider determinants of health and wellbeing.

·  Recognising differences across BAME and other protected characteristics. Members noted the importance of recognising the risk of poorer outcomes for black and minority ethnic groups, and welcomed further discussions to:

o  The importance of acting on the challenge that black women are five times more likely to die in child birth. Members welcomed having peer support as a priority, which can play a key role in tackling this issue as well as addressing the needs of black and minority ethnic women in maternity medical training. Sue Gibbs welcomed the opportunity to follow this up with Alison Lowe outside of the meeting.

o  Ensuring that the strategy supports women who have been subject to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

o  Ensuring that the strategy supports LGBT people, particularly around accessing IVF treatment.

o  Consider how Members can improve Better Parent Education reflecting on the discussions from the listening exercises such as through the Leeds Health and Care Academy and wider system interventions in areas experiencing the highest levels of deprivation, particularly minority ethnic communities.

o  Identify individual differences, religious beliefs and cultural experiences of minority ethnic groups, and provide support accordingly, as opposed to a blanket approach for all BAME groups.


The following actions were identified as follows:


Task to Estates Programme Board: Following on from centralisation of hospital maternity services – the need for help in identifying appropriate estate to progress the development of the first integrated/ maternity community hub in Harehills and in addressing any transport issues to get to new hospital.


Task to Workforce Board: Opportunities to develop a workforce that represents our communities e.g. expanding the Haamla doula model of volunteers/ and recruitment of support workers from representative communities.


Task to Thea Stein as SRO for LCPs to explore with Leeds Maternity Board: Identifying and recognising opportunities at a local level for effective integrated working (LCP/ Best Start zones/ Early Help Hubs)




a)  To note the actions set out above to be taken forward by partners;

b)  To note the Board’s discussion of the development of the refreshed Leeds Maternity Strategy, acknowledging the strategy as critical to the delivery of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Strategy.



Supporting documents: