Pregnant women and new mums in Gloucestershire are to benefit from nearly £1.5M funding that will improve specialist community mental health support for women, their babies and families.

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) worked with partners including 2gether NHS Foundation Trust (2gt), Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT) to submit the county’s case to government in a bid to secure funding which will be released over the next three years.

Gloucestershire is one of only 20 areas across the country to be successful in being awarded this national funding.

The funding will be used to set up a new community mental health team which specialises in supporting pregnant women, new mothers, their babies and families experiencing post-natal depression and other emotional difficulties.

Dr Jeremy Welch, GP in Tewkesbury and Clinical Lead for Maternity Services at NHS Gloucestershire CCG said:

“Improving support for pregnant women and new mums is one of our key priorities in Gloucestershire.

Over the past few years, we have been working with and listening to women, and their partners, who have themselves experienced mental health problems around the time their baby is born. This has given us invaluable insight, and has helped us to develop our plans and guide steady improvements in care and support for women and families.

Establishing this Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team is an important part of our future plans, and will enable us to ensure that women have access to expert advice and information on the risks of pregnancy and childbirth on their mental health.”

Dr Sally Morgan, Consultant Psychiatrist at 2gether NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The team will provide specialist care for women who have experienced severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or psychosis while pregnant or after birth, responding quickly if they become ill and helping to minimise risks to both the mother and baby. They might do this, for example, by giving medication advice, offering psychological support and providing lifestyle advice. They will also be able to offer expert advice on the risks and benefits of treatment options.”

Dawn Morrall, Assistant Director of Midwifery at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are recruiting a perinatal mental health specialist midwife to be part of this team to work to ensure that women have a comprehensive plan to support their mental health during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.

The team will work closely with Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services (IAPT), maternity services, health visitors, GPs and community organisations which can provide advice and care for women.”

Kathy Williams, cabinet member for long-term care at Gloucestershire County Council said:

“Pregnant women and new mums need their mental health to be as well cared for as their physical health. This is an important part of making sure that, right across health and social care, mental health issues are treated as seriously as physical health ones. This funding will help ensure mothers get the support they need at this critical time.”

Janet Mills, General Manager for Children and Young People’s Services at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said:

“We recognise that one in six women is affected by mental health issues and stress during pregnancy or after birth. These women need specialist care and support and this new team will help us to provide that, making sure that people get the care they need when they need it.”

This development supports a number of key themes within Gloucestershire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), including improving mental health support, placing greater emphasis on preventing ill health, helping people to be healthy and well at home and enhancing community based services and support.

To read more about the STP and find out about how you can get involved, visit the STP website at: