Baby Care Units: Mental Health Services

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd May 2019.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of long-term mental health support given to parents of babies discharged from neonatal units.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Perinatal mental health services are available to all parents, including parents of babies that have been discharged from neonatal units, when they need it.

In April 2019, NHS England confirmed that new and expectant mothers across the country are now able to access specialist mental health care in the area where they live. The rollout of specialist community services across the whole of England, means that those suffering from perinatal mental health problems are able to access high quality care much closer to home.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health committed to invest £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services to ensure that, by 2020/21, at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes a commitment for a further 24,000 women to be able to access specialist perinatal mental health care by 2023/24. Specialist care will also be available from preconception to 24 months after birth, which will provide an extra year of support. Support will also be extended to fathers and partners of women accessing specialist perinatal mental health services and maternity outreach clinics.

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