Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham, has visited Birmingham Women’s Hospital in her constituency to thank frontline NHS staff who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.
During her visit, Preet met with Chief Executive, Sarah-Jane Marsh, as well as staff and service leads from nursing, midwifery and gynaecology. They spoke of a broad range of issues that had affected staff and patients throughout the pandemic including the vital work taking place to improve women’s health, tackling the stigma that still exists around issues like menopause and abortion and the impact which Covid-19 has had on unvaccinated mums-to-be.
More urgently, staff outlined the dramatic increase in domestic abuse cases they received and the change in approach to safeguarding concerns. Preet was shown how the role of doctors and nurses changed to no longer focus purely on care but social support for women. We need to ensure more emphasis on supporting women's wellbeing is recognised by Government.
The impact of both unprecedented levels of domestic abuse and multiple lockdowns has seen the need for mental health support increase. It has been reported that mental health referrals, particularly amongst young people increased by as much as 77% nationally placing additional pressures on an already fragile support system.
As part of this discussion, Preet also met with senior directors from Forward Thinking Birmingham, who provide mental health support for young people in the city.
Commenting on the visit, Preet said, “It was fantastic to meet with dedicated NHS staff who worked relentlessly and to be able to say thank you to them in person for all that they have done to keep us safe.
“I also found great value in being able to discuss the challenges and obstacles that staff are facing when it comes to delivering a fit-for-purpose health service. We need a mental health system that can meet growing demand, that is on a parity with physical health practices, and which puts community at its heart. We continue to see our city’s services having to do more with less and so it is absolutely imperative that any mental health model, needs to be implemented from the bottom up with local residents at the very centre.”