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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

  • One record to improve health and care in the Black Country and West Birmingham

    People living in the Black Country and West Birmingham will soon get even better and safer care and treatment, thanks to the introduction of joined-up health and care records. One Health and Care is a new NHS shared care record launching later in the Spring, which will bring together all the separate records held by different local providers of health and social care – such as hospitals and GPs – in one secure, easy to read format. This will give authorised professionals who are directly respo...
  • Wash, wash, wash your hands

    As COVID-19 continues to spread in the area, people across the Black Country and West Birmingham are being reminded of the importance of washing their hands. Regular hand washing with soap and water remains an essential part of good hygiene and helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other winter illnesses such as colds, flu and stomach bugs. Hands should be washed with warm water and liquid soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying them thoroughly. If soap and water are ...
  • Executive Recruitment for the Black Country Integrated Care Board

    The Black Country Integrated Care System is looking for future Executives to lead the Integrated Care Board when it is established in July 2022. We are now live with the recruitment to 3 of our 6 future executive roles. Adverts are now live for the roles below: Chief Finance Officer  Chief Medical Officer  Chief Nursing Officer Recruitment to the other executive posts of, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Equality and Innovations Officer and Chief People Officer will start in th...
  • Future NHS Health Board seeks independent non-executives

    The recruitment is now underway to appoint four independent non-executive members to the Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). The Integrated Care Board will be formed in April 2022, subject to the passing of the new Health and Care Bill. These new roles represent an opportunity to be on the Governing Body for the future NHS ICB, where non-executive members will help to shape a long-term, viable plan for the delivery of the functions, duties, and objectives of the NHS locally. Their role...
  • Mental health chief named as interim lead for NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board

    Health leaders are delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Axcell as Interim Chief Executive Designate for the Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). Mr Axcell is currently Chief Executive of the local mental health and learning disabilities trust, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and has more than 25 years’ experience within the NHS. He will take up the interim post from Monday (22 November) and will lead preparations for the launch of the new ICB next year, subject to...
  • Black Country and West Birmingham NHS pledges support to Armed Forces community

    On Monday 8 November, seven NHS organisations from the Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (ICS) signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) at a virtual signing. The Black Country and West Birmingham ICS, the first ICS to sign up to the Covenant within the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association’s (RFCA) region, comprises 15 local health and care organisations who are jointly responsible for managing resources, delivering NHS standards, and improving the healt...
  • Online event for people living with diabetes

    Ahead of World Diabetes Day (Sunday 14 November), people living with diabetes across the Black Country and West Birmingham are invited to attend a special webinar taking place on Friday 12 November. Created by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide and aims spread awareness of diabetes. This year marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a treatment that has saved millions of lives around the world. To c...
  • Accelerating recovery of diagnostic services with £8million investment

    Following a successful bid, we are pleased to confirm that local NHS trusts are taking part in a national programme to help the NHS further accelerate diagnostic activity and recover services from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. Our colleagues across NHS services are working hard to recover services affected by the pandemic, now the vaccine programme has helped to significantly reduce the number of Covid patients needing care. Throughout the pandemic the NHS has con...
  • Walsall people encouraged to take part in ground-breaking blood test cancer trial

    Thousands of letters are being sent to adults in Walsall this week, inviting them to take part in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new cancer-detecting blood test. The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, including thousands in the West Midlands, to see how well the test works in the NHS. Walsall is the first location in the We...
  • Recruitment begins for the Black Country Integrated Care Board Chief Executive Officer

    NHS England is advertising for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the future Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). 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, to coordinate services and to plan in a way that improves population health and reduces inequalities between different groups. From April 2022 (subject to legislation) ICSs will become statutory...