New health visitors are to recieve “enhanced training” to help mothers with postnatal depression, te government has announced.
Under the national health visitor programme, launched last year, the government committed to recruiting thousands of extra health visitors in order to try and reduce heavy caseloads and reverse years of workforce decline.
It has now announced that they will also be trained to spot the early symptoms of postnatal depression and to support parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a baby.
Announcing the move, health secretary Andrew Lansley said the 4,200 new health visitors would work with midwives to provide joint care for new parents focused on “emotional wellbeing”.
They will be able to access new evidence and given extra training, enabling them to identify mothers who need extra support.
In cases where more help is needed, health visitors will be able to refer parents to counselling services as part of a £400m government investment in psychological and talking therapies.
Services will be rated by parents to find out how well the NHS looks after those who need emotional support.
As part of the friends and family test unveiled earlier this year, patients will be asked to rate their care to help the NHS improve.
Mr Lansley said: “No woman should have to cope with postnatal depression without help and support. The changes we are putting in place today will mean that the NHS is providing even more support to women who have this serious condition.”