David Burrowes – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by David Burrowes on 2016-01-21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress is being made on conducting antenatal mental health assessments.

Alistair Burt

Our commitment to improving perinatal mental health was demonstrated by the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a £290 million investment over the next five years to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services. This builds on the initial investment of £75 million announced in the March 2015 Budget, making a total investment from 2015/16 to 2020/21 of £365million.

The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence guidelines recommend that during a pregnant women’s first contact with primary care or when booking her first appointment she should be asked how she is feeling. This will enable a sensitive conversation and, if appropriate, for a referral to her general practitioner for further assessment or, if a severe mental health problem is suspected, to a mental health professional.

It has been recognised that more information is needed about perinatal mental health. The Health and Social Care Information Centre is working on the implementation of a new Mental Health Services Dataset which will seek to increase the amount of data available about antenatal mental health assessments. We expect that some initial data on perinatal mental health will be available later this year. We will use this initial information to refine how data on perinatal mental health is collected going forward.