Building capacity in perinatal mental health services
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.
Delivering a skilled workforce
We were commissioned by NHS England and Health Education England
to deliver the Building Capacity, Psychiatry Leadership in
Perinatal Mental Health Services project.
This one-year programme trained 10 consultant psychiatrists to
become perinatal specialists, through a bursary scheme in
collaboration with Mental Health Trusts.
The project delivered a host-mentor programme and a masterclass
seminar series, to develop the clinical, leadership and teaching
skills needed to establish and lead perinatal mental health
services. Throughout the programme bursary holders were assessed
against the competency framework.
A final review is currently underway to assess and provide
evidence for a credential. This is in support of a wider national
scoping project to evidence the process of formal accreditation of
attainment of competences.
To maximise impact and broaden the projects reach, an additional
15 consultants, engaged in delivering perinatal services, were
accommodated on the masterclass programme. And four three-day
conferences were developed and delivered to a broader cohort of
consultants and senior trainees on developing clinical skills and
Impact and reach of the project has been measured and mapped,
with approximately 280 psychiatrists trained, in some capacity,
over the course of the project.
Hear from the bursary holders in our video:
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browser please see it on
Building tools, supporting training
The project has undertaken to develop an array of tools to
underpin and support training pathways and the national strategy,
to ensure sustainable improvements to delivering perinatal mental
A batch of patient leaflets for the user, carer and
wider-community support network will be published
- What are perinatal mental health services?
- Mother and baby units
- Postnatal psychosis: carers/partners
- OCD: leaflet for carers
- Children’s social services and safeguarding: Advice for women
with mental health problems in pregnancy and the first year after
- Lithium in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Sodium Valproate in women of childbearing potential
- Using anti-psychotic medication in pregnancy.
An eLearning module, the ‘perinatal frame of frame of mind’ is
in development and will be available by the end of the year.
As a learning tool for psychiatrists and other specialists
engaged in delivering perinatal mental health services, this will
be free at the point of access via the RCPsych and eLearning for
The broader project to deliver a skilled workforce, beyond the
bursary programme, continues:
For consultants two additional masterclass series have been
commissioned and will commence from September in London and
London (RCPsych HQ)
- 17 September 2018
- 3 October 2018
- 14 November 2018
- 5 December 2018
- 15 January 2019
- 24 January 2019
- 5 and 6 February 2019
- 26 and 27 March 2019.
Manchester (Midland Hotel)
- 12 September 2018
- 10 October 2018
- 15 November 2018
- 6 December 2018
- 16 January 2018
- 15 February 2019
- 27 and 28 February 2019
- 19 and 20 March 2019.
Both series will accommodate 20 participants.
Successful applicants will be expected to attend all of the
classes as developing relationships within the groups is key to
future liaison, networking and peer support.
Applications are invited from psychiatrists who have taken up
consultant perinatal psychiatrist posts in the last one to two
years or who are about to take up new consultant posts in perinatal
psychiatry by September 2018. Priority status will be given to
those who meet these criteria, as will individuals who are working
in areas of need.
For ST4-ST6 trainees a five-day course in perinatal psychiatry
will be held in Birmingham from 21-25 January 2019. This will be an
intensive, comprehensive course, led by experts in the field and
delivered through didactic teaching, seminars and discussion
groups. This will be free to attend for participants (but is not
inclusive of travel and accommodation expenses).
Session topics across both programmes include:
- Service development, clinical networks, PQN and workforce
- Prescribing in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Mental health and capacity law
- Parent-infant mental health and therapy
- The importance of the early years and parent interaction
- Safeguarding ‘managing complexity’
- The challenges of working across agencies and disciplines
- Personality disorder and its implications for maternal mental
health and parenting
- Lived experiences
- Psychological therapies
- Forensic aspects of perinatal psychiatry.
How to apply
- Curriculum Vitae
- A personal statement setting out why you should be offered a
place, confirming that you can and will attend all classes
- Evidenced support from your employing Trust for attending and
any costs incurred from travel etc.
- Masterclasses - 30 June 2018
- Trainee course - 30 September 2018
Email expressions of interest to Perinatal.Masterclasses@rcpsych.ac.uk.