Maternity and mental health engagement report

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Summary of report content

From January to March 2019, Healthwatch Shropshire undertook wide-ranging engagement to understand people's experiences of the maternity mental health support available in Shropshire. This work was carried out as requested by Healthwatch England.

Key findings included: staff expressed that many, if not all, of the parents they had encountered in the last six months would have benefited from mental health support; over half of questionnaire respondents said they had been given no information or advice about maternity and mental health, which was widely wanted; new parents experienced a lack of opportunities to raise their mental health concerns; people had variable experiences of talking to their GP about their mental health; most support came from health visitors and midwives; people valued the support they received from health visitors and felt this should be available more frequently and go on for longer; service users and staff highlighted the need for continuity of carer to build trust and allow new parents to discuss their concerns; people experienced variable waiting times and had difficulty self-referring to mental health support; and personalisation of care, including involvement in care planning, was welcomed.

Healthwatch Shropshire made several recommendations, surrounding: increasing support for partners; better information for new parents; more consistent and face-to-face contact with professionals; more support groups to build peer support networks; provision of mental health training for all staff that work with new parents; and the new Perinatal Mental Health Team working closely with primary care professionals to improve the consistency and quality of support provided to new parents that need it. The report features a positive response from the Local Maternity System.

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General details

Report title 
Maternity and mental health engagement report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Shropshire
Date of publication 
Monday, 24 June, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 January, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 March, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Holistic support
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Healthwatch England
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Health visitor
Secondary care services 
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Community services 
Community healthcare and nursing services

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth
Types of disabilities 
Mental health
Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
New mothers

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Allied health care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.