Autism Berkshire is working with the Royal Berkshire Maternity & Neonatal Voices Partnership to increase understanding of the experiences of maternity services of autistic mothers and those from minority communities, to improve care and support.
The partnership is a parent-led NHS working group that aims to improve neonatal and maternity services provided by the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, working with professionals and other stakeholders to make changes, based on what women and families tell them.
Studies have shown that certain groups of people, such as parents with disabilities, black and Asian women, and those living in deprived areas, are at greater risk of serious complications in childbirth.
The partnership now has a Parent and Community Engagement Team, whose mission is to reach out to these groups to build relationships and trust and make sure their voices are heard.
The team is inviting autistic mothers and those from minority communities who live in and around Reading and West Berkshire, and are interested in talking about their experiences of using the RBH’s neonatal and maternity services, to get in touch with them.
The partnership is also keen to find new members for its team of parent representatives, to help with its work. Involvement can range from attending meetings, to helping create leaflets or gathering feedback in the community.
Parent reps can choose how much or little they want to be involved, so they can fit it around their families. The group has funding from the NHS Local Maternity and Neonatal System, so can often pay people for their time or offer a voucher incentive.