The Government has announced that its priorities to be tackled under Women’s Health Strategy in 2024 will prioritise maternity care, including £50 million for research to tackle maternity disparities.
Our Chief Executive Clea Harmer was at the Women’s Health Summit in central London, where the Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins outlined the plans for the coming year.
"The Government is clearly committed to prioritizing maternity care before, during and after pregnancy. It was great to hear the Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins say this morning that she is serious about ending maternity disparities, which are unfair and unacceptable.
"Maternity safety is clearly at the top of the Government's to-do list, and the next step must be working with NHS leaders on creating long-term, funded plans aimed at saving babies' lives and eliminating inequalities in pregnancy loss and baby deaths.
"We also welcome the announcement by the Health and Social Care Secretary of £50 million for research to tackle maternity disparities, among the government’s priorities for women’s health in 2024. A key recommendation of our recent Listening Project report was for Government to fund a research programme to inform the development of effective interventions to address health inequalities and save babies’ lives."
- Sands' Chief Executive, Clea Harmer
Maternity care focus in 2024
The Government plans include continuing to deliver on the Three Year Delivery Plan and ensuring women understand the care they can expect from the NHS during pregnancy and after giving birth.
There will also be a greater focus placed on preconception and postnatal care for women, raising awareness of morning sickness and actioning the recommendations set out in the Pregnancy Loss Review.
Through the first ever National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) ‘Challenge’, backed by £50 million, researchers, policymakers, and women will be tasked with finding new ways to tackle maternity disparities.
In addition to the NIHR ‘Challenge’, we are building on the £53 million invested via the NIHR programmes and will continue to improve how women are represented in medical research through its Research Inclusion Strategy.
“We’re breaking historical barriers that prevent women getting the care they need, building greater understanding of women’s healthcare issues and ensuring their voices and choices are listened to.
“We’ve made huge progress – enabling almost half a million women access cheaper HRT, supporting women through the agony of pregnancy loss and opening new women’s health hubs – but I absolutely recognise there is more to do.
“We’re ensuring these changes benefit all women, regardless of socioeconomic background or ethnicity, because our Women’s Health Strategy is only a success if it works for all women.”
- Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins
Find out more about the Women’s Health Strategy England.