Perinatal pathways

Speech bubble with perinatal care comment

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health highlighted a system of patchy care and fragmentation for women with perinatal mental health problems, and recommended that national clinical quality benchmarks and pathways could help to address this and support at least 30,000 more women to access mental health care during pregnancy and after giving birth. These pathways are described fully in these documents:

This guidance sets out the policy initiatives and strategic context for transforming perinatal mental health care. It explains why this transformation must be a priority for commissioners, providers and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and integrated care systems (ICSs).

This guidance provides detailed information on the pathway, what is important to people who use services, what perinatal mental health problems are and the treatments that should be provided, and the principles for delivering high quality, compassionate care.

This document includes NICE recommended care for perinatal mental health problems, recommendations for outcomes measurement and examples of services who are already providing high quality care and elements of the pathways.

Our Perinatal faculty has produced a template service specification for specialist community perinatal mental health teams. This can help commissioners to implement the perinatal mental health care pathways.


This graphic visual representation introduces the perinatal mental health care pathways.

Perinatal Self-Assessment Tool

Following the publication of the Perinatal Mental Health Care Pathways guidance, NHS England commissioned the NCCMH to develop a self-assessment tool to assist in measuring the provision of specialist community perinatal mental health teams in England.

Teams will be asked to complete an online self-assessment tool with questions on how the service operates and an audit of case notes. Self-assessment returns will be validated, and a national level report will be produced by the NCCMH. This will allow specialist community perinatal mental health teams identify strengths and weaknesses, and benchmark their performance against national averages. It will also offer providers and commissioners an indication of areas to target for service development and quality improvement.

The self-assessment will be open for teams to complete from 10 December 2018 – 29 January 2019. Specialist community perinatal mental health teams will be contacted on 10 December 2018 and given usernames and passwords which will allow teams to login and participate in the self-assessment tool. Clinicians working in the specialist community perinatal mental health team and/or the service manager will be asked to provide data for all women referred to the team between July and September 2018.

Teams will also be given a guidance document, which will provide information on what each question in the self-assessment tool is looking for. Teams will also receive a data collection sheet on 10 December which will assist services to gather data from their case notes. For a copy of the specialist community perinatal mental health team self-assessment tool and guidance document, please see below:

The NCCMH will provide advice and support throughout the process. If you have any queries or require your login username/password, please contact

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