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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Building capacity in perinatal mental health services

On this page you can find information about a five year project to help more mothers and families get the care and mental health support they need along the perinatal pathway.

What’s the aim of the project?

NHS England is working to build capacity and capability in specialist Perinatal Mental Health services to help mothers and families get the care and mental health support they need along the perinatal pathway from preconception to postnatal care.

This is a priority under the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the aim is that by 2020/21, at least 30,000 more women in all areas of England will be able to access treatment, closer to home when they need it.

This includes developing and sustaining the right range of evidence-based specialist community services and inpatient care.

What is the role of the Royal College of Psychiatrists?

NHS England, in partnership with Health Education England, have commissioned The Royal College of Psychiatrists to manage and deliver the Building Capacity, Psychiatry Leadership in Perinatal Mental Health Services project.

Expanding the number of psychiatrists with perinatal training

This project will administer bursaries to backfill 10 consultant level psychiatrist posts for one year while individual psychiatrists engage in training in the sub-specialty of Perinatal Psychiatry.

This training programme will develop clinical, leadership and teaching skills to enable the participants to establish and lead Perinatal Mental Health services in their geographical area.

These bursaries are specifically targeted at Mental Health Trusts where there are currently no Perinatal Psychiatrists or opportunities for training in this sub-speciality, but where there is clear evidence of a strong commitment to develop a local specialist Perinatal Mental Health service.

Preference will also be given to Trusts that put forward candidates for consideration who have reached consultant level within the last five years, as this will ensure they are available to deliver clinical expertise and lead long-term development of a specialist Perinatal Mental Health service.

Areas that are awarded bursaries will need to make a commitment to continuing the employment of the psychiatrist within a Perinatal Mental Health service after the year of training.

Ensuring a sustainable perinatal mental health service

Ensuring the long-term commissioning and provision of a sustainable service, including the associated workforce, is a vital component of any successful application.

Applications will therefore need to demonstrate endorsement from senior management at the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and show how they will support development and improvement of Perinatal Mental Health services being planned and commissioned locally.

Criteria for applications

There are a number of criteria the College will ask the Mental Health Trusts to meet, and these have been sent to the Trusts, along with a letter explaining how the bursary scheme will work.

We anticipate that interested Trusts will interview and appoint a Consultant Psychiatrist and send a joint Application Form to the College.

Further information about the bursary scheme can be obtained from the Project Manager, Val Andrews using email address

Deadline: Tuesday 31 January


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