The Government has pledged to prioritise improvements to maternity care as part of the ongoing roll-out of its Women’s Health Strategy.

Speaking at a Women’s Health Summit in London, Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said support for those who experience birth trauma would also be a focus in 2024.

She announced the creation of a ‘Challenge’ fund totalling £50 million, which will be used to encourage research that could help tackle inequities across maternity services – for example, between women and birthing people from different ethnic groups.

Speaking at the same event, Maria Caulfield, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) reconfirmed support for the work being done by Tommy’s researchers into improving miscarriage care in the UK.

Currently, women and birthing people must endure 3 miscarriages in a row before they qualify for specialist care and support.

Our team at the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research are piloting a new care pathway which offers support after a first loss, some testing and treatments after a second, and consultant-led care after a third – the ‘graded model of care’.

Ms Caulfield heard first-hand about the pilot project when she visited the centre last year.

Today’s Women’s Health Summit marked the second anniversary of the launch of the Women’s Health Strategy.

Following consultation with groups including healthcare professionals and members of the public, the Government said it would concentrate over the next year on preconception and postnatal care, as well as raising awareness of morning sickness.

Priorities also include ‘actioning the recommendations set out in the Pregnancy Loss Review’, which was published in July last year.

The review recommended dozens of measures to improve treatment, care, training and education around miscarriage and baby loss.

Tommy’s Chief Executive Kath Abrahams, who attended the summit, said: 

“It’s encouraging that the Government has pledged publicly to make maternity care a priority within its Women’s Health Strategy.

“Tackling inequities in maternity services is one of our key priorities at Tommy’s. We know, for example, that rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and maternal death remain significantly higher among Black women and birthing people, and those of Asian origin, than among White women.

“We look forward to hearing more about how the promises made at today’s Women’s Health Summit will be translated into the action we need to make a real difference in future for all those who need access to safe, effective maternity services.”