We have led on the North-East London (NEL) wide Maternity Choice project for the Local Maternity & Neo-natal system (LMNS), looking at the reasons for choice of Maternity Unit. We also asked questions about cultural sensitivity and language barriers, as these were highlighted in our previous engagement last year. We undertook direct engagement between 6th and 10th February at Whipps Cross and King George Hospital, with colleagues at Queens, Homerton, Newham and the Royal London; children's centres, women's refuges, food banks, and community groups. The survey was also live since December 2022 with a wide online reach. We have 400 surveys and this is due to report at the end of April so we will be able to upload the final report when published. The LMNS and Chief Nurse will be using this to help create their new strategy for Maternity Services in NEL.
Our partnership with the Rough Sleepers quarterly Health Forum in the Welcome Centre is another focus. It has increased our engagement with Rough Sleepers which has been a long-term aim. We are able to give live signposting to other organisations both present and to those who are keen to increase their engagement with members of this community. We completed surveys about the cost of living, which showed that 67% felt their physical health had deterioriated in the last two months due to costs rising, and 78% felt their mental health had deteriorated in the last two months. Half of our respondents had not purchased over the counter medications and avoided the dentist for the same reason. We also asked questions about GP access and found significant barriers, although the help of the Welcome Centre and Homeless Healthcare provided vital mediation.