Support for new mothers

Alongside the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), I have campaigned for a number of years in support of a postnatal mental health check for new mothers after giving birth.

For too long the mental health of new mothers has been overlooked. This is why I have been supporting the NCT’s #HiddenHalf campaign, following the organisation’s research a few years ago which found that only around half of new mothers’ mental health problems were picked up by a healthcare professional.

It is because of this that I am pleased that NHS England have now confirmed that GP practices will receive funding so that mothers will get a dedicated six week check-up to discuss their health with a GP or a healthcare practitioner.

Up until now, only the baby check has been funded. It can often be the case that whilst baby checks were routinely carried out, the maternal check was either not done at all, or it was rushed straight after the baby check appointment.

The conversation was therefore too brief, with too many mothers not feeling comfortable disclosing their concerns.

The NCT have played a vital role in making this happen, which will benefit mothers in Crawley and around the country. Indeed, I have fond memories of attending NCT Crawley classes in the months before the birth of my daughter.

During last month’s House of Commons debate on the NHS Funding Bill I spoke about the Government’s commitment to ensure that mental health is treated on a par with physical health. The six week postnatal mental health check is just one area where this objective turns into a real difference for people using our NHS.

Mental health funding is being boosted by at least £2.3 billion over the next five years. At least £2.3 billion of the £33.9 billion NHS funding boost will go towards mental health, with funding growing as a share of the overall NHS budget over the next five years.

Henry Smith MP