Reducing Antenatal Health Inequalities: Outcome Focused Evidence into Action Guidance

This guidance details the specific actions needed to strengthen antenatal healthcare at NHS Board and national level.


Antenatal health care has a unique and vital contribution to make to improving maternal and infant health outcomes and reducing health inequalities, ensuring that every child has the best start in life and is ready to succeed

The role of universal antenatal healthcare in assessing women's health and social needs is pivotal to ensuring appropriate pathways of care, including multiagency and multidisciplinary pathways of care are in place

The medical and obstetric clinical consequences of social risk requires them to be managed by clinical services as robustly as the management of medical risk, for example diabetes or epilepsy

The development of workforce skills for the assessment of individual women's assets 6 for health and health and social needs to be addressed as a priority

The development of workforce communication skills should be addressed as a priority-prioritising women who do not have English as their first language; women who have sensory disabilities and/or women with poor health literacy 7

Continuity of carer(s) and the development of trusted relationships should be provided for all women and ensured for the safe care of women with complex health and social care needs

The collection and analysis of data particularly data relating to healthcare equity should beimproved as a priority

Integration of planning and service provision among antenatal care services, other key NHS services and local authority services should be strengthened

Staff should have the support, supervision, time and resources needed to enable them to work effectively with women who have multiple and complex health and social care needs

Regular and systematic clinical audit of short term maternal and infant outcomes should be carried out

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