Mums to get better help for postnatal depression

Thursday, 17 May 2012 7:47 AM

Women who have postnatal depression or who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a baby will get more support from the NHS.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has pledged an extra 4,200 health visitors, who will help provide services for expectant and new parents at home after they have had a baby.

They will get enhanced training so they can spot the early signs of postnatal depression.

Health Visitors and midwives will work together to provide expert joined up care for new parents with a focus on emotional wellbeing. These key healthcare professionals will be able to access new evidence and training so they can identify and support women with postnatal depression.

Where extra help is needed they will be able to refer mums to counselling, thanks to the Government’s £400 million investment in psychological and talking therapies.

For the first time, the NHS will be measured against how well it looks after parents who have miscarried or suffered a stillbirth or cot death. Patients will be asked to rate their care so the NHS can improve it.

There will also be improvements in maternity care, with the Government investing in a record 5,000 midwives currently in training. The aim is for women to have one named midwife who will oversee their care during pregnancy and after they have had their baby.

They also want parents-to-be to get the best choice about where and how they give birth and that every woman has one-to-one midwife care during labour and birth.

These pledges will be made possible by the wave of investment for health visitors, midwifery students and psychological therapies and reform of NHS services over the next few years.

Andrew Lansley said: “No woman should have to cope with postnatal depression without help and support. The changes we are putting in place today will mean that the NHS is providing even more support to women who have this serious condition.”

Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet: “Sadly there are many experiences shared on Mumsnet of women not getting the best care when they need it, whether post-natal in hospital, after a miscarriage or still birth, or when battling post-natal depression.

“The announcement that services provided during miscarriage are to be monitored is a real advance towards identifying best and worst practice and therefore towards improving the care received.”

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