After a delay due to COVID-19, NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) have now launched an expression of interest process to develop and test Maternal Mental Health Services (formerly referred to as ‘Maternity Outreach Clinics’ in NHSE’s Long Term Plan) in 2020/21 and 2021/22.
This supports the delivery of the ambition in the Long Term Plan to establish Maternal Mental Health Services, which will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to the maternity experience.
Sustainability and transformation partnership (STPs), Integrated Care Systems (ICS), and Local Maternity Systems (LMS) areas have all received information inviting them to express interest in piloting these services.
The plan is for pilot sites to mobilise from October 2020 onwards and it is expected that all areas of England will have access to these services by 2023/24.
The MMHA welcomes this positive step towards achieving ambitions for perinatal mental health laid out in the Long Term Plan. We will be following the pilot developments and learnings closely, which should translate into perinatal mental health support for more women and families in need.