Mental Health Services: Pregnant Women

Department of Health written question – answered on 12th November 2015.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of NHS England about perinatal mental health services; and what plans he has to improve such services.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

My Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State meets the Chief Executive of NHS England on a regular basis and discusses a wide range of issues, including improving access to mental health services.

The Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and the first postnatal year. In the March 2015 budget the Government announced £75 million over five years, £15 million per year, to support women with mental ill health in the perinatal period. NHS England is leading a work programme to ensure that this money is spent in the right way, at the right time and in the right places. This work is being carried out collaboratively with system partners, including the Department of Health and Public Health England, clinical experts and service users.

On the 10 November I met with representatives from NHS England and a small group of perinatal mental health experts to discuss improving perinatal mental health services.

Health Education England has a mandate commitment to ensure that trained specialist mental health staff are available to support mothers in every birthing unit by 2017. And a further mandate commitment requires Health Education England to work with the Royal Colleges to support perinatal mental health training being incorporated into the postgraduate training syllabus for doctors by 2017.

Over 600 perinatal mental health visitor champions have been trained who are supporting health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders and knowing when to refer on.

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