Mims Davies Written Questions

2 Questions to Department of Health and Social Care tabled by Mims Davies

Date Title Questioner
11 Sep 2017, 2:44 p.m. Pregnancy Mims Davies


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their (a) general and (b) mental health.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The Government is committed to ensuring that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their general and mental health.

We are committed to improving maternity outcomes and experience of care for women and babies, as set out in Safer Maternity Care: next steps towards the national maternity ambition, published in October 2016. This should start before childbirth and the Government is supporting the Our Chance campaign to support women to understand advice about healthy pregnancies and how to act on it.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence has published quality standards on postnatal care, which includes the core care and support that every woman, their baby and if appropriate, their partner and family should receive during the postnatal period. This includes recognising women and babies with additional care needs and referring them to specialist services as required.

Evidence shows that the six-eight week appointment is a particularly crucial element of postnatal care. Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, states that the check should include assessing:

- how a woman has made the transition to motherhood, including her mental health;

- her recovery from the birth, using direct questions about common morbidities;

- longer term health risks for any morbidity identified; and

- any further help she might need whether connected with the birth or not; and what advice she might need about future family planning.

The Department has invested £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes work to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates.

11 Sep 2017, 2:01 p.m. Maternity Services Mims Davies


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans the Government has to act upon the recommendations made by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' report, Each Baby Counts, published in June 2017, to improve maternity care.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The Government and NHS England are supporting National Health Service maternity services to implement important changes that address the key recommendations in the Each Baby Counts report.

We published Safer Maternity Care: next steps towards the national maternity ambition in October last year to achieve the National Maternity Ambition to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries by 2030. This action plan, which feeds into the NHS England-led Maternity Transformation Programme, includes:

- an £8 million Maternity Safety Training Fund, which has been shared out to every NHS maternity unit to enable multidisciplinary teams to undertake training on CGT fetal monitoring, obstetric emergency skills and drills, leadership, human factors and team working;

- the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle which supports maternity teams by bringing together four key elements of care based on best available evidence and practice in order to help reduce stillbirth rates – these are reducing smoking in pregnancy, risk assessment and surveillance for fetal growth restriction, raising awareness of reduced fetal movement and effective fetal monitoring during labour;

- the development of a National Standardised Perinatal Mortality Review Tool that will be available later this year to support maternity and neonatal units to undertake and share learning from standardised, high quality case reviews of every stillbirth and neonatal death; and

- consultation on a Rapid Resolution and Redress scheme, which would contribute to reducing severe avoidable birth injuries through improved investigations and learning.

In addition, NHS Improvement launched a new Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative – a three-year programme to improve clinical practices and reduce variations in outcomes involving every trust, making it one of the largest maternity quality improvement programmes.