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Opportunity to get involved: Women’s Reference Group

Have you used maternity services during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or do you support those who have?

We are looking for women who have recent experience of using maternity services, or those have supported women during their pregnancy, to form a Women's Reference Group to help identify good practice during the pandemic that can be translated across the maternity system.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are working in partnership with Queen Mary University of London, the Caribbean and African Health Network and the University of Bristol to look at whether changes to maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic have affected existing inequalities.

Recent statistics around adverse outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in multiple areas of healthcare show just how essential it is that action is taken to highlight, address and tackle these disparities. There is also a significant gap in understanding the factors that result in a higher risk of morbidity and mortality for ethnic minority women in the UK. We know women from ethnic minority groups have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is unclear what has contributed to this disparity.

This research project will use data that is routinely collected during the course of maternity care to identify changes to outcomes for women and babies during the pandemic, and whether these were related to particular changes in maternity services offered. The study will then identify any maternity units where changes in practice during the pandemic narrowed existing gaps in outcomes between women from different ethnic groups, or units where the impact on existing inequalities was as small as possible. The final research will be used to provide recommendations on how the quality and safety of maternity care can be improved, and how it can ensure that all women, irrespective of their background or place of residence, have access to safe maternity care.

We are working with our lay co-applicants from the Caribbean and African Health Network and the Muslim Women’s Network UK to develop a Women’s Reference Group of 20-25 members to work alongside the project team to help identify good practice during the pandemic that can be translated across the maternity system. We are looking for women who have recent experience of using maternity services or those have supported women during their pregnancy to be part of this group and help shape this work.

Timeframes and details

  • The project will begin in April 2021 and there will be 5 virtual meetings, with the first in May 2021.
  • The project will run for 1 year.
  • Meetings will be held on weekdays and will take place virtually via Microsoft Teams.
  • Group members will be reimbursed for their time.

How to apply

Please email womensvoices@rcog.org.uk to find out more or have a chat about getting involved.

Read more about the role: Role description (PDF 400kb)

The deadline for applications is Sunday 18 April 2021.