Released on: 07 February 2020
NCT is celebrating a victory for its #HiddenHalf mental health campaign as NHS England announces funding for dedicated postnatal check-ups for new mothers.
NCT, the UK’s largest parents’ charity has been vigorously campaigning for this outcome since its research¹ showed nearly half of mothers’ postnatal mental health problems were not being picked up by healthcare professionals.
NHS England’s new contract arrangements will fund GP practices so that mothers get a dedicated six week postnatal check to discuss their health with a GP or healthcare practitioner
Angela McConville, Chief Executive, NCT, said:
“It’s fantastic news that NHS England has responded to our calls for better postnatal mental health checks. This is a huge step forward and means more new mothers will be supported to talk about their mental health problems and get the help they need.”
The campaign was driven by NCT’s movement of volunteers, practitioners, staff and members and around 14,000 people supported the campaign online.
NCT is grateful to the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Psychologists, Maternal Mental Health Alliance and Netmums for their important contributions to the #HiddenHalf campaign.
¹NCT research in 2017 found that only around half (42%) of new mothers’ mental health problems got picked up by a healthcare professional. The charity’s 2019 research found that 47% of mothers got less than three minutes for a discussion about their own health at the six week check.
²The GP six week postnatal check is a conventional health check at a critical time for the wellbeing of mother and child. Since 2004, the six week postnatal baby check has been included as a funded mandatory requirement in the GP (GMS) contract but the 6-8 week maternal check has not been funded or mandatory. As a result, mothers reported that whilst baby checks are routinely carried out, the maternal check was either not done at all or squeezed in at the end of the baby check appointment, resulting in a rushed conversation. Consequently, mothers reported not feeling comfortable disclosing mental health problems.