Monday, 7 July 2014

Mothers with postnatal depression 'failed by the NHS'

A parenting charity found only three per cent of clinical commissioning groups provided new mothers with mental health support

Teenage mother with post-natal depression
The National Childbirth Trust found a disturbing number of situations where there is no care or very little care for mothers with post-natal depression
Mothers with postnatal depression are being failed by the NHS because only 3 per cent of health organisations offer help with the condition.
The figures from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) found 97 per cent of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) had no mental health strategy for new mothers and 60 per cent said they did not have plans to put one in place.
The parenting charity sent freedom of information (FOI) requests to 194 CCGs, of which 15 per cent directed the parenting charity to local NHS trusts or NHS England. The NCT said this suggested a lack of clarity regarding who is responsible for commissioning and providing services across England.
The charity called for more staff and resources “urgently” to tackle the “huge gaps” in support and care provided to mothers experiencing postnatal depression.
NCT chief executive Belinda Phipps said: "One in ten mothers experience some form of postnatal depression, but there are clearly huge gaps in the support and care being provided to them across England.

"While we found some areas with excellent care, too often we have found situations where there is no care, or very little care. If there are whole areas where GPs, midwives and health visitors have no training or time to dedicate to this vital service then women will not get the help and support they need.
"For many parents this will result in months of misery, damaging both family relations and children's wellbeing. And, in the most extreme circumstances, it will result in tragedy and loss of life.
"We need to see properly staffed and resourced services with clear lines of responsibility and clear targets for delivery. And we need to see that happening urgently. "
The charity also contacted NHS trusts to ask if they were able to provide a perinatal mental health service with trained specialists.
Of the 193 contacted, only 26 per cent of the trusts provided a dedicated service while just 13 per cent had a full team in place.
54 per cent said they did not provide mothers with the service, but 33 trusts did not respond to the FOI request.
The charity found only 14 per cent of trusts are employing one specialist perinatal mental health midwife or doctor, usually on a part-time basis.
NCT is a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), a coalition of organisations committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of women and their children in pregnancy and the first postnatal year.
The MMHA will launch the campaign #everyonesbusiness to highlight the gaps in provision of maternal mental health services on Tuesday.

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