Some of my subscribers may have been kind enough to put their name to an e-petition to the Prime Minister.
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to arrange for more and higher standard of services for women and their families affected by post natal illness.”
Details of Petition:
“Currently services in the UK provided by the NHS are not up to the guidelines submitted by NICE. We believe the following basic principals should be put in place to help women and their families who are deeply affected by PNI to recover swiftly and fully: * A dedicated HV from each area in the UK to follow up any referrals from GP * Support groups on an informal basis to take the pressure off mums who may be suffering confidence with the opportunity to incorporate a buddy system. * Funds made for community groups to be set up with the support of a HV/CPN or other trained professional. * Faster follow up counseling than is currently available. * Shorter waiting lists for CBT and other therapies * A specifically trained individual on PNI to operate in each PCT * Correspondence for all mums with HV until the child reaches the age of 5 * More funding for charities supporting women and their families suffering PNI * Dedicated support for the father and families affected by the mother suffering PNI.”
This is the response and my personal reaction in brackets.
The Department of Health fully recognises that postnatal depression (PND) has a devastating effect not only on a woman following the birth of her child but also on her whole family. (I agree completely)
The Maternity Standard of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Children, Young People and Maternity Services sets standards for maternity care, including the early identification of and better support for women at the highest risk of developing postnatal depression. It is important for women to be provided with a postnatal care service that identifies their needs and responds in a structured and systematic way, and the NSF addresses this for both pre and postnatal mental health.
(Likewise I fully support this)
The 2007 strategy document Maternity Matters: Choice, access and continuity of care in a safe service builds on the maternity standard. It outlines how women should receive coordinated postnatal care, delivered according to relevant guidelines and in an agreed pathway of care, encompassing both medical and social needs of women and their babies, including those requiring perinatal mental health services or neonatal intensive care. Maternity Matters also outlines the roles that service providers and commissioners will have in the provision of woman-focused, family-centred maternity services, incorporating the need to commission high quality, equitable, integrated maternity services as part of maternity, neonatal and perinatal mental health networks, according to local need.
(yes - we know this!)
It is also quite clear that maternity services should be designed, reviewed and improved through a programme of consultation with users, and with a full range of choices of postnatal care. In particular, Maternity Matters advocates that all professionals involved in the care of women immediately following childbirth need to be able to distinguish normal emotional and psychological changes from significant mental health problems, and to refer women for support according to their needs.
(We also know this BUT it doesn't happen as there simply isn't enough training out there)
The Department of Health has proposed extending the current duration of community postnatal care. This is because current research suggests that the routine midwife discharge at ten to fourteen days and routine discharge from maternity care at six to eight weeks is too short for a full assessment of health needs, and does not identify those women who may have post-delivery health problems, which need longer term care.
(Hooray! How long have we been saying this?)
The Department has therefore recommended that midwifery-led services be provided for the mother and her baby for at least a month after birth or discharge from hospital, and up to three months longer depending on individual need. The whole emphasis is on having better multi-professional working in order to meet the complex needs of women and their families. We expect midwives and health visitors to work closely together at this important time in both the mother’s and baby’s life.
(This is a slight improvement BUT TOTALLY INADEQUATE!!!!!)
So where are the references to the NICE guidelines? To the Child Health Promotion Programme?
Where is the extra funding needed for training and ensuring there are sufficient midwives and health visitors? Where is the extra support for prevention methods?
Sorry Mr. Brown but you have let the many, many families affected by this awful illness down badly.
'Recommendations' are simply not good enough. Maternal mental health care is a huge issue and can affect families for years. How much more suffering has to go on before long-term funding and managed care pathways are put into place?
As a former teacher my mark to Mr. Brown in red ink would be an 'E grade - not good enough - SEE ME!'
See the article here
Looks like we still have a fight on our hands! Care to join me anyone?
P.S. I enjoyed being on Heather Stott's coffee shop this morning on BBC Radio Manchester. Fellow guests Val and Simon and I had fun talking about issues of the day.