RCM calls for rapid rollout of new Northern Ireland perinatal mental health service

By Gemma Murphy on 14 January 2021 Midwifery Funding Maternity Safety Safety Maternal Mental health Perinatal Mental Health Northern Ireland Director For Northern Ireland RCM Northern Ireland

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has called for the rapid rollout of a new community service for pregnant and postnatal women with mental health problems, following the announcement last night by Health Minister Robin Swann.

Karen Murray, Director for Northern Ireland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “We are delighted that the Northern Ireland Executive has listened to the RCM’s calls. For too long, women in Northern Ireland have struggled to get local specialist mental health care and support during and after their pregnancy, making them worse off than those in England, Wales and Scotland. We need to get this new service up and running quickly, so that no more women go without the support that they desperately need.”

The announcement from Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann means that each of Northern Ireland’s five Health and Social Care Trusts will have new specialist perinatal mental health teams, drawing multidisciplinary expertise from all the relevant health and social care experts, including midwives.

Karen Murray added, “The RCM along with many other organisations has been campaigning for this over many years. This is a victory for us, but most importantly, it is a victory and a lifeline for the women who need help. We now need to see this service put in place as soon as possible, because every day that passes without it, is a day woman are going without the care they often desperately need.”


Notes to editors

For more information on the announcement see https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/swann-approves-funding-new-perinatal-mental-health-delivery-model.

The RCM will be publishing updated guidance for maternity staff on supporting pregnant women’s emotional wellbeing next week. For more information see https://www.rcm.org.uk/rcm-events/2021/launch-of-maternal-emotional-health-and-infant-well-being-and-infant-development/.

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.