Momentum is building in parliament, with 17 MPs asking parliamentary questions prompted by the campaign - six of them specifically mentioning Hidden Half.

Hidden Half

16. Asked by Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of GP practices offer a six week postnatal check-up; and what information his Department holds on the take-up of such checks at those practices. 

Answered by: Steve Brine Answered on: 08 March 2018

 
All general practitioner (GP) practices are expected to provide maternity medical services for their registered patients. Practices may however exceptionally choose to opt out of providing such services e.g. on workload grounds. Practices which choose to opt out will relinquish a proportion of their global sum income – currently 2.1%. It is the responsibility of the lead commissioner locally (NHS England or clinical commissioning groups under delegated agreement) to ensure the patients of opted out practices can continue to access these services e.g. commissioning the service from a nearby alternative practice. 

NHS England and the Department do not collate data on the number of practices that have opted out but financial information gives some indication as payments to these practices are reduced to fund the re-commissioning of services. Financial data from 2016/17 suggests that up to four practices out of the 7,523 opted out of maternity medical services, which includes the six week postnatal check-up. 

NHS England and the Department do not collect information on the number of patients who have their post-natal check at their GP practice

 

15. Asked by Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the provision of postnatal check-ups by GP practices.

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Department does not hold data relating to the take up of postnatal check-ups in general practitioner (GP) practices.
The Care Quality Commission’s 2017 survey of women’s experiences of maternity care, found that 92% of the 17,570 respondents said the midwife had told them that they would need to arrange a postnatal check-up of their own health with their GP around six to eight weeks after the birth.

 

14. Asked by Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department is doing to improve the diagnosis of mothers suffering with post-natal mental health problems. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 31 January 2018 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes access to psychological therapies and specialist community or inpatient care. 

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification and diagnosis of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. In addition, there are over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and knowing when to refer on. 

 

13. Asked by Gloria De Piero (Ashfield) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure new mothers’ mental health problems are identified as early as possible. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 31 January 2018 

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes access to psychological therapies and specialist community or inpatient care. 

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. In addition, there are over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and knowing when to refer on. 

 

12. Asked by Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department are taking to improve post-natal mental health care provision. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 22 January 2018 

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes access to psychological therapies and specialist community or inpatient care. 

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. In addition, there are over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and know when to refer on. 

 

11. Asked by Michelle Donelan (Chippenham) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that new mothers' mental health problems are identified as early as possible. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 22 January 2018 

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes access to psychological therapies and specialist community or inpatient care. 

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. In addition, there are over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and knowing when to refer on. 

 

10. Asked by Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the six week postnatal GP appointment for new mothers is a full check on the mother's physical and mental health in addition to a separate appointment on the health of the newborn child. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 17 January 2018 

Clinical recommendations relating to postnatal checks for mothers and newborn babies are outlined within the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance titled ‘Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth’. 

Section 1.2.65 states that ‘At the end of the postnatal period, the coordinating healthcare professional should ensure that the woman’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing is reviewed. Screening and medical history should also be taken into account’. 

Sections 1.4.11-13 state that at six to eight weeks an examination on the health of a newborn child should be made. Further detail of this guidance can be found at: 
https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg37 

NHS England expects commissioners and providers of maternity care to pay due regard to the NICE guidelines. Implementation of this guidance is the responsibility of local National Health Service commissioners and providers. 

 

 

9. Asked by Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, Health what discussions he has had with NCT on the identification of postnatal problems in that organisations Hidden Half campaign. 

Answered by:Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 08 January 2018 

Ministers have not met with representatives from the National Childbirth Trust, but are aware of their Hidden Half campaign. 

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 
A key element of NHS England’s £365 million perinatal mental health transformation programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce. 

The six week postnatal check is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance on postnatal care and identified as a crucial element of postnatal care by NHS England’s National Maternity Review. This check should make an assessment of how a woman has made the transition to motherhood, including her mental health. 

 

8. Asked by Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with the National Childbirth Trust on its Hidden Half campaign to improve diagnosis and treatment for post-natal mental illness. 

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 12 September 2017 

Ministers have not yet met with representatives from the National Childbirth Trust, but we are aware of their Hidden Half campaign. 

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 

A key element of NHS England’s £365 million perinatal mental health transformation programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce. 

The six week postnatal check is recommended by National Institute for Health and Care Exellence guidance on postnatal care and identified as a crucial element of post-natal care by NHS England’s National Maternity Review. This check should make an assessment of how a woman has made the transition to motherhood, including her mental health. 

 

7. Asked by Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will implement the recommendations of the National Childbirth Trust's report, The Hidden Half - bringing postnatal mental illness out of hiding, published in June 2017. 

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 12 September 2017 

This Government remains committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home. 

General practitioners (GPs) are required to provide appropriate ongoing treatment and care to all their registered patients including advice in connection with the person’s health, relevant health promotion advice and referral for other services. 

Women should have a postnatal check with their GPs six-eight weeks after their baby’s birth to make sure they feel well and are recovering properly in terms of both their physical and mental health.

6. Asked by Dr Dan Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to ensure all new mothers' mental health problems are identified as early as possible. 

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 07 September 2017 

Promoting good maternal and perinatal mental health is a key priority for this Government, as set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. 

A key element of the transformation programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. 

In addition, the Department has published guidance which has led to the creation of over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and to know when to refer on to a specialist. 

 

5. Asked by Mims Davies (Eastleigh) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their (a) general and (b) mental health. 

Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne Answered on: 11 September 2017 

The Government is committed to ensuring that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their general and mental health. 

We are committed to improving maternity outcomes and experience of care for women and babies, as set out in Safer Maternity Care: next steps towards the national maternity ambition, published in October 2016.

This should start before childbirth and the Government is supporting the Our Chance campaign to support women to understand advice about healthy pregnancies and how to act on it. 

The National Institute for Care and Excellence has published quality standards on postnatal care, which includes the core care and support that every woman, their baby and if appropriate, their partner and family should receive during the postnatal period. This includes recognising women and babies with additional care needs and referring them to specialist services as required. 

Evidence shows that the six-eight week appointment is a particularly crucial element of postnatal care. Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, states that the check should include assessing: 

  • how a woman has made the transition to motherhood, including her mental health; 
  • her recovery from the birth, using direct questions about common morbidities; 
  • longer term health risks for any morbidity identified; and 
  • any further help she might need whether connected with the birth or not; and what advice she might need about future family planning. 

The Department has invested £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period.

This includes work to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. 

 

4. Asked by Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken to increase awareness of perinatal mental health during antenatal classes. 

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 05 September 2017 

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on antenatal care recommends that a discussion of mental health issues should be offered to pregnant women at booking (ideally 10 weeks). This is the minimum that commissioners should be contracting against with maternity providers. The Department does not collect data on the quality of mental health advice given by healthcare professionals during the antenatal period. 

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period.

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and improved recovery rates. 

 

3. Asked by Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that new mothers' mental health problems are identified as early as possible.

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price. Answered on: 09 October 2017

Promoting good maternal and perinatal mental health is a key priority for this Government, as set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.
The Department is investing £365 million between 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period.
A key element of the transformation programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates.
 

2. Asked by Laura Smith (Crewe and Nantwich) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to identify at an early stage new mothers who may be experiencing mental health problems.

Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price Answered on: 26 October 2017

Promoting good maternal and perinatal mental health is a key priority for this Government, as set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

The Department is investing £365 million between 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period.

A key element of the transformation programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates.

In addition, the Department has published guidance which has led to the creation of over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and to know when to refer on to a specialist.