1. ITV Report

Calls to improve perinatal mental health services in Wales

Credit: PA

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says more needs to be done to improve perinatal mental health services for women in Wales.

This follows the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) publishing maps showing that pregnant women and new mums in a quarter of the UK still cannot access lifesaving specialist perinatal mental health services which meet national guidelines.

of areas in Wales have specialist perinatal mental health services services available, says the MMHA

While the latest maps indicate Wales is doing better than other areas in the UK such a Scotland and Northern Ireland, there is much more that needs to be done to improve the provision of vital perinatal mental health services for women in Wales.

In October 2017 the children’s, young people and education committee in Wales published a report on perinatal mental health and some of the key recommendations were based on evidence provided by the RCM.

While progress is being made, our concerns do remain on the absence of a mother and baby unit in Wales which is vital for families and means women are not separated from their babies, but these units are even more important for single mothers facing mental health problems alone with little or no support for family members.

The RCM will also continue to advocate for a specialist perinatal mental health midwife to be placed in each health board with maternity services, as this is something instrumental to identifying pregnant women who need care and support and will also allow those mothers to be cared for within a community setting or at a hospital close to their home which will enable them to be supported by their families too.

– Helen Rogers, The Royal College of Midwives (RCMs) Director for Wales

We are committed to improving maternal mental health services, and are pleased the rapid progress that we have made in Wales has been recognised.

Since 2015 we've invested £1.5 million a year in community perinatal mental health teams across Wales, which help identify, treat and manage mental ill health before and after childbirth.

There are now community teams in every health board area in Wales. We can confirm that perinatal mental health service are also available in Powys.

We are exploring options to ensure mothers can receive more intensive and inpatient perinatal support in Wales without being separated unnecessarily from their babies and families

– Welsh Government spokesperson