Do you have plans to invest in both the services and research surrounding perinatal illnesses? Peer support is vital in helping to help families who are struggling with these illnesses, why isn’t more investment given to organisations who provide these services?
We have committed to investing £75 million over the next five years to give the right care to more women who experience mental ill health during the perinatal or antenatal period. We have also developed a plan to support women with postnatal mental health problems which will share best practice and learning with the NHS and are investing in the training of specialist staff to help support families who need it.
Absolutely. As we have set out, perinatal mental health is going to continue to be an area we focus on in the next government. Building on the £50 million funding we secured in the March 2015 budget, we will continue to invest in perinatal mental health services across the country to ensure that pregnant women and mothers know that specialist mental health support is available when they are struggling to cope. This funding will pay for expanding existing services – and creating new ones – staff training to build better awareness of perinatal mental health issues across the NHS, as well as delivering support to voluntary sector organisations who often provide absolutely vital support. We will also be investing £50 million in mental health research to ensure that we are funding the most effective treatments and can help as many people as successfully as possible.
GREEN PARTY (Jillian Creasy) – We support a fully funded NHS providing a high standard of evidence-based care in all areas of medicine. We are also planning a significant increase in investment in scientific research. The allocation of funding to different subjects will be determined by independent experts under government guidance, but could include perinatal illness and care. We agree that peer support is useful for families and that is worth supporting voluntary organisations which foster it. But this must not be at the expense of the NHS. In our view, ideally NHS midwives, health visitors, and Surestart/Children’s Centre organisers would run groups which bring people together to support each other. The NHS and children’s services have been hit hard by cuts but the Green Party would increase funding for local authorities and the NHS so that they can provide this kind of service. We have spoken out against cuts to the NHS and local services from day one, and will continue to do so.
Research is crucial to keep improving practice in perinatal care so investment in this would be a key plank of our approach. Investing in these services is vital to ensuring that children get all of their needs met and that they are safe and that each and every parent is properly supported to be the best parent that they can be. Perinatal Services would be commissioned based on the needs of the population. We would shift the emphasis of services towards early intervention and prevention. Socialist policy would also tackle the social issues such as poverty, poor housing and lack of community services that contribute to the development of paternal mental illness. We would look at peer support closely and we would wish to develop this service and ensure that people who choose to work in this service work are paid a living wage and that they access training and further support to develop the scope of the role even further.
We want to make Wales a centre for research excellence, and would work to ensure that Wales receives its share of health research funding, attracting quality researchers to Wales. At present, Wales is starved of funding. We are the only party calling for parity with Scotland in terms of funding, which would equate to an extra £1.2bn per year. This would make a drastic difference to our public services, and would ensure that those in need are not unnecessarily penalised.