General practitioners and primary care teams have a crucial role in supporting the identification of perinatal mental illness and treatment, and are part of an integrated pathway of services. This includes monitoring early onset conditions, providing pre-conception counselling and referring women to specialist mental health services, including Improving Access to Psychological Therapies and specialist perinatal community teams, if necessary.
NHS England is investing £63 million between 2016/17 and 2018/19 to support development of specialist perinatal mental health community services across England as part of a £365 million transformation programme of perinatal mental health services to 2020/21. Local teams work in close partnership with wider system partners, including primary care, to provide care and treatment to women with perinatal mental illness.
NHS England has also invested in multidisciplinary perinatal mental health clinical networks which include general practitioners. The networks drive forward change, focusing on collaborative working. The networks develop local, integrated pathways and support early identification of those at risk of mental illness in the perinatal period, enabling better outcomes for women in all communities.
Targeted funding of £1.2 million was provided in 2017 to enable the training of primary care, maternity and mental health staff to increase awareness and skills related to perinatal mental health.