Earlier this year, SIS support one of our Service Users to share her views of maternity and post natal support with Healthwatch. This contribution was 1 of 20 interviews conducted by Healthwatch across the country and feedback was combined with results from a national survey completed by 2693 people.
I was able to share my experience of this service during the interview. The researcher was a good listener, empathetic and very compassionate. This helped me to talk freely and give my views and opinions.
Respondents told Healthwatch that;
- Six-week postnatal checks are not working well in addressing perinatal mental health in most women
- Many new mothers and birthing parents are struggling to access the support they need for their mental health
- There were issues of poor communication which meant mothers were not fully informed and were unable to make informed decisions.
- Many mothers mentioned a lack of continuity of care; they didn’t have the same healthcare team/midwives throughout their pregnancy and birth journey.
- Therea re long waits for maternal mental health referrals
- Some GP practices are not complying with the requirement to deliver the six-week postnatal consultation
Thanks to the bravery of our Service User and others in sharing their stories, the Government has confirmed plans for NHS England to work with the Royal College of GPs to develop new guidance on 6-8 week-postnatal checks to support women’s mental health after giving birth. They will be monitoring and supporting staff to implement care that meets national standard and to improve access to specialist community perinatal mental health services.
Most importantly they have committed to listen to people and their families and place their experience at the heart of policy decision making; involving people in design and planning of services to make them more personalised and equitable.
More about the outcome of this work can be read here