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Community Perinatal Team has official launch

25 Apr 17 - 24 Apr 18

On Monday about 150 Hertfordshire professionals who work with expectant parents and new families attended a conference that saw the official launch of Hertfordshire’s Community Perinatal Team.

The event was held at the Fielder Centre in Hatfield. Among the speakers was HPFT’s Dr Sarah Cohen, consultant psychiatrist, who has been instrumental in setting up the team.

HPFT has developed the team, working alongside GPs, obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives and health visitors already supporting women to prevent their condition deteriorating. The team went live to referrals on 20 March.

The county’s two NHS clinical commissioning groups received national funds to develop a specialist service offering pre-pregnancy counselling to women with mental ill health and supporting new mums with conditions like severe postnatal depression, as well as their babies and partners. Between ten and 20 per cent of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.

Opening the conference, Liz Biggs, Programme Lead for Children, Young People and Maternity at Herts Valleys CCG, paid tribute to Sarah Cohen’s “vision and leadership” and said she has been “absolutely amazing as a flagship for this work”.

In her address to the audience, Sarah Cohen outlined the work that has taken place since February 2016. “It has been an incredible year, a real team effort.” She then outlined the aims of the team, which will put “mums, their babies and families at the heart of what we are doing”.

Maria Bavetta, of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said: “I was here a year ago hearing what Herts hoped to do, and you’ve done it. It’s incredible!”

Midwives from Watford and Lister hospitals welcomed the perinatal progress in Hertfordshire and the easy referrals to the CPT.

The CCGs and Hertfordshire County Council are working together to deliver Hertfordshire’s £2m child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) Transformation Plan to improve emotional wellbeing services for children and young people over five years. One priority is to improve perinatal mental health services.

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