Funding boost to support new mums with mental health issues

Partners will be able to attned all pregnancy scans at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals from Monday Picture...

Additional funding is set to be made available to support expectant and new mums with mental health issues - Credit: Archant

More than £800,000 is set to be invested in supporting Suffolk mums with post-natal depression and other mental health issues through targeted support.

The Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing body heard a proposal to support the expansion of the Specialist Perinatal Service at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) on Monday.

The service has been operational since late 2017 and officially launched in February of the following year.

It had been commissioned by the West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk CCGs and treated around 420 women in its first year.

A report discussed by the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said up to 20% of mothers are affected by perinatal mental health illness, which happens during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child.

The report said the effects of not addressing mental health issues could be "significant and long-lasting" and may also impact children’s emotional, social, and cognitive development.

Richard Watson, deputy chief executive for the three CCGs said he was pleased to see the year-on-yea

Richard Watson said the funding boost was in line with national ambitions - Credit: IESCCG

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It proposed increasing funding of the NSFT perinatal service by £822,300 up to 2024, with both the West Suffolk and the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCGs contributing the money over several years.

It also said the expansion would allow for the hiring of additional nurses, clinical psychologists and social workers.

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The report said the funding represented an opportunity "to increase the team’s activity with regards to access targets and importantly improve the women’s experience of antenatal care by reducing barriers into the perinatal team".

Richard Watson, deputy chief executive and director of strategy and transformation at the Suffolk and North East Essex CCGs, said there is currently no waiting list for the service and women in need of treatment are seen within four weeks.

He said: "There is a national ambition to expand the access to those who may be suffering from issues during pregnancy and after.

"The target is to get to 10% by 2023/24.

"The service that is offered is psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with moderate or complex problems during the perinatal period."

No objections were raised to the proposals in the governing body meeting.

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