Local perinatal care ‘ahead of the curve’ as funding announced
Local mental health services for new and expectant mothers have been given a boost following the announcement of a national £5m fund to develop perinatal community services.
The fund, set up by NHS England, is part of a £365m plan to expand perinatal support to an extra 30,000 women a year by 2020.
Whilst commissioners and providers across the country compete for a slice of this funding, services in Cheshire and Merseyside have already completed work towards various criteria set out in the national plan.
Local healthcare organisations, including Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) created the Cheshire and Mersey Clinical Network for Women and Children in 2014. This group has since joined providers in Cumbria and Lancashire to create the North West Coast Clinical Network.
The network has agreed a region-wide mental health care pathway specifically for new and expectant mothers. It has also benchmarked the provision of services across the region and is liaising with Health Education England to establish a plan to develop the workforce in relation to perinatal mental health issues.
Tania Stanway is a Consultant Psychiatrist at CWP and is Chair of the Northwest Coast Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Network. She said: “As mental health problems are the second leading cause of death amongst women in the perinatal period, I’m pleased that this is being recognised nationally as an important issue.
“This funding is fantastic because it will result in improved care and mental health support for thousands of women during this critical time in their lives.
“We have spent the last couple of years working towards improved perinatal care within our region and so feel ahead of the curve at the time of this important backing from NHS England.”
A 2014 report from the London School of Economics showed that untreated perinatal mental health problems cost the UK £8 billion per year, and have an adverse effect on thousands of children. In response, the Government has committed to supporting services which help parents to bond with their children as part of the ‘Future in Mind’ campaign.