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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 has awarded bursaries to 10 consultant Psychiatrists in England to spend one year in training in the sub-specialty of Perinatal Psychiatry.

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

These bursary holders represent Mental Health Trusts where there are currently no Perinatal Psychiatrists or opportunities for training in this sub-specialty, but where there is clear evidence of a strong commitment to develop a local specialist Perinatal Mental Health service.

Trust represented include:

  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust
  • Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust
  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust

These trusts have a commitment to continue the employment of the Psychiatrists within a Perinatal Mental Health service after the year’s training.

In addition to the bursaries, 12 consultant psychiatrist have also been offered the opportunity to participate in the master class and leadership components of the year’s programme. The 16 master classes  will run from June 2017 to January 2018.
As part of the project, RCPsych is also offering a number of 3-day training events focusing on the clinical and service development aspects of perinatal mental health. These training events are open to a broader cohort of Consultant Psychiatrists who would like to develop their skills in the sub specialty.

By the end of the programme the project as a whole will have trained 160 consultant psychiatrist representing over 40 NHS trusts in England in the skills and competencies required to be a Perinatal Psychiatrist and to help mothers and families within their geographical area get the care and mental health support they need from preconception to postnatal care.

Further information about the bursary scheme can be obtained from the Project Manager, Dee Noonan. Email  




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