THE NEXT SECTION GIVES AN OVERVIEW OF WHAT WE MEAN BY ANTENATAL HEALTH INEQUALITIES
HEALTH INEQUALITIES - AN OVERVIEW
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ANTENATAL HEALTH INEQUALITIES?
- Inequalities appearing at pregnancy, birth and the early years often have a significant bearing on maternal health and the subsequent development of the child, its' health, happiness and productivity in society
- Largely socially determined variations in health outcomes for women and their babies that are determined pre conceptually and during pregnancy.
- Although largely socially determined they have clinical manifestations that require effective clinical responses
- They result in poor comparative health outcomes at birth for women and their babies -and are especially significant where for example any or some of the following circumstances interlock: poverty, age (teenage/older), ethnicity, domestic abuse, learning disability, substance misuse problems, alcohol +tobacco use.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
- They are a strong indicator of social injustice
- They result in poor health, social, educational and economic outcomes across the whole of the life course for women and their babies
- They are result in significant reactive public spending across health, social care, education and criminal justice departments
- They significantly hamper Scotland realising its ambition of becoming a more successful country, with opportunities for all of to flourish.
WHAT CAN NHS ANTENATAL HEALTHCARE DO?
Health inequalities arising in the antenatal period need to be tackled through all areas of public policy and all public services they cannot be tackled by health policy and health care alone. However those who are at the greatest risk of poor pregnancy outcomes are the least likely to access and/or benefit from the healthcare that they need. Antenatal healthcare has a unique and vital contribution to make to reducing health inequalities by taking action across three main themes:
1. Improving access to antenatal healthcare services
2. Improving the assessment of health and social need
3. Ensuring equity in the quality of care for women and their babies