More lives will be saved thanks to funding being rolled out for specialist perinatal services. Northern Ireland lagged behind the rest of the UK when it came to specialist perinatal services – with no specialist community teams in four of the five health trusts and no mother and baby unit.
Last May, Health Minister Robin Swann announced funding for community perinatal teams as part of a package of measures in the Mental Health Action Plan. Thankfully, that promise has been kept with a cash injection of around £4.7m for the health and social care trusts to develop specialist community perinatal teams for new mothers.
Dr Julie Anderson, chair of our Perinatal Committee, RCPsych NI, said: “After years of campaigning, we’re ecstatic to see this life-changing and indeed life-saving funding announced, and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Health Minister, especially at a time when the pandemic is stretching health services.
“Pregnancy and the early postnatal period for many mothers is a fabulous time of life, but it is a period in life when women are most at risk of developing a new mental illness or experience a relapse of a pre-existing one."
As a College, this is an excellent development, particularly for those members who have campaigned tirelessly over the years. It would be remiss of us not to pay tribute to both Dr Janine Lynch and Dr Julie Anderson, whose leadership and dedication has finally been rewarded, as well as the partner organisations who have been involved in campaigning in the recent past.