Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has welcomed a funding boost which means that every new mum will be able to get a full postnatal check-up after having a baby.
NHS England has announced that all GP practices will get funding so that mothers get a dedicated six-week postnatal check-up to discuss their health with a GP or healthcare practitioner.
Up until now, only the baby check has been funded.
Wera Hobhouse has worked closely with NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity, to achieve this outcome.
NCT’s #Hidden Half campaign has called for this funding since its research revealed that nearly half of mothers’ postnatal mental health problems were not being picked up by healthcare professionals.
Mums reported that whilst baby checks were 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.
Wera Hobhouse said: “This is a fantastic outcome for parents across Bath. Postnatal mental health issues are not a new phenomenon and are not uncommon.
“It’s time to remove the stigma, encourage new mothers to discuss their emotional well-being, and provide them with the mental health support they need.
“That is why last year I introduced legislation to ensure women are getting proper mental health advice and treatment as part of their six-week new mother check-up.
“To allow mental health to be sidelined is a dereliction of duty of care to both new mothers and their babies.
“I am very pleased that, a year on from tabling this legislation, NHS England has decided to make the change.”
Angela McConville, Chief Executive, NCT, added: “It’s fantastic news that NHS England has responded to calls for better postnatal mental health checks.
“This is a huge step forward and means more new mothers can be supported to talk about their mental health problems and get the help they need.”