Maternity and perinatal mental health

Our aim in the Maternity and Perinatal Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network (MPMH SCN) is to provide leadership and support through clinical consensus to reduce unnecessary variation in maternity and perinatal mental health services, and to improve health outcomes for service users.

By co-ordinating the expertise of commissioners, healthcare providers, health and wellbeing boards and academic health science networks, we plan to overcome challenges facing maternity and perinatal mental health services.  We provide support to commissioners to deliver their core purpose of quality improvement and engage with service users and their families who are affected by issues in maternity and / or perinatal mental health.

Improving Maternity and Perinatal Mental Health Services through Clinical Leadership

Maternity services across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria are facing significant challenges and the need for sustainable and equitable improvements has never been greater.

As demand for services increases, so the number of women with more complex needs using them is also increasing. Providers are required to deliver improvements and efficiencies to services, whilst working from a limited funding envelope.

In seeking to address these challenges, and aiming to reduce variation and improve outcomes across Cheshire and Merseyside, the Maternity, Children & Young People (MC&YP) Network (one of the predecessor’s to MPMH SCN) established a Maternity Clinical Experts Group (Mat CEG) in 2015, made up of senior clinicians from provider Trusts.

The group is continuing to develop a standardised quality dashboard of maternity indicators to provide the vital data needed to deliver equitable and improved services. This standardised approach to service analysis and improvement will mean that all providers can begin to collect the same data about their services in the same way. Our clinical leaders will then be able to use and analyse the data, comparing Cheshire and Merseyside’s service outcomes in a meaningful way and identifying where best practice can be extended across the patch.

This essential work will help the Network to meet both the challenges detailed within the NHS Planning Guidance 2016/17 – 2020/21 and introduce the recommendations of the National Maternity Review. At the same time, the standardised quality dashboard will contribute directly to the work of the Cheshire and Merseyside Acute Care Collaboration Women’s and Children’s Partnership as it develops new models of care across the region.

A Mat CEG is currently being established within Lancashire and South Cumbria , to progress the above mentioned work plans within this geographical area.

The recent National Maternity Review highlighted that both providers and commissioners recognise mental health care for women, before, during and after pregnancy is not good enough. Delivering improvements to perinatal mental health services is a national priority.

During the past year, the Perinatal Mental Health Working Groups (Cheshire & Merseyside and Lancashire & South Cumbria) embarked upon a comprehensive work programme, laying the foundations around which future improvements to services can be built. These groups reviewed existing perinatal mental health pathways of both health and social care providers across the geographical areas covered, to identify areas of good practice. The outputs from these reviews were married to existing clinical guidelines (NICE Guidance CG192) to develop a local pathways for perinatal mental health.

Alongside this, these groups also carried out a comprehensive review of current service provision within primary and secondary care, community health, third sector and public health providers. This gave commissioners and providers a comprehensive picture of what services currently exist and where there are gaps. The group’s recommendations and suggested care pathways will next be used to help commissioners and providers close those gaps.