NHS takes ‘concrete action’ for mental health care

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NHS England has set out plans to provide more support for pregnant women and new mums suffering mental illness, and for mental health crisis cases presenting to A&E.

According to the plans, £40 million is to be allocated to 20 areas of the country to fund new specialist community mental health services for mums in the immediate run up to and after birth, and help reach 30,000 more women a year by 2021. A further £20 million will be allocated next year.

The funding for new mums will see new or bigger teams in those areas providing specialist care for all new and expectant mums with severe mental ill health issues, as well as more buddying and telephone support. Four new mother and baby units have also been commissioned.

In addition, NHS England is introducing a new recommended standard whereby anyone who walks through the front door of A&E or is on a hospital ward in a mental health crisis should be seen by a specialist mental health professional within an hour of being referred, and within 4 hours they should have been properly assessed in a skilled and compassionate way, with the correct next steps for their care planned in partnership with them.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: ‘For most parents having a baby is one of the happiest times of your life. But for tens of thousands of new mums, this experience is sadly overshadowed by severe pregnancy-related ment...