ACP questions effectiveness of extra support announced for new and expectant mums with poor mental health

The ACP is questioning whether extra funding announced for new and expectant mums with poor mental health will help provide appropriate and timely treatment for those women experiencing serious emotional problems.

The Government has pledged £290million to help mothers who develop mental health problems either before or after having their baby. The new funding aims to help thousands of women access specialist mental healthcare through perinatal classes, new community perinatal teams and more beds in mother and baby units.  It is part of an overall package of funding announced by the Prime Minister to enhance mental health services across the country.

A spokesperson for the ACP said: "Although it is positive that the Government recognises the need to provide help to mothers and babies as early as possible, mental health services still need to have well trained staff who are skilled at addressing the dual needs of a new mother and her baby, in order to provide the right mental health support at the right time.

"We would also like to highlight the importance of supporting fathers and families around a new baby."

The key measures announced include:

  • £290 million to provide specialist care to mums before and after having their babies
  • first ever waiting time targets to be introduced for teenagers with eating disorders and people experiencing psychosis
  • nearly £250 million for mental health services in hospital emergency departments
  • over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as safe and effective alternative to hospital

These measures have been recommended by NHS England's independent mental health taskforce, set up as part of the NHS plan for the next five years. The report, due to be published soon, will also suggest a new five-year mental health strategy for the NHS.