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Information for professionals

Women experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period have specialist treatment needs, requiring specialist expertise. They are likely to have contact with a range of different professionals and services and are best cared for with an integrated approach.

Who are the Community Perinatal Team?

The Community Perinatal Team (CPT) is the specialist team supporting families in Hertfordshire where there are identified moderate to severe perinatal mental health needs or concerns. The CPT can also provide some advice or support for mild – moderately unwell women to prevent deterioration or relapse.

Pre-conception counselling is available for women with a serious mental illness or who have previously had a severe perinatal mental illness, and want advice about risks and treatments, when considering a future pregnancy.

The team consists of:

  • Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist
  • Community Psychiatric Nurses
  • Mental health Social workers
  • Nursery Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Specialist Registrar

What does the team offer?

The team work with women in non-stigmatising settings such as antenatal clinics and community settings. They work closely with other professionals and offer a range of support to ensure families receive the most suitable care according to their needs. This includes:

  • Telephone triage of referrals within two working days
  • Joint Psychiatric / Obstetric clinics within antenatal clinics in Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead Hospital, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and Lister Hospital
  • Perinatal outpatient clinics
  • Telephone advice for professionals looking after women with perinatal mental health disorders
  • Specialist psychological and occupational therapies
  • Pre-conception counselling
  • Pre-birth care planning
  • Care coordination
  • Parent infant interventions
  • Signposting and referral on to appropriate interventions and services

Why early intervention and referral is important

Women are more prone to develop mental health issues in the perinatal period than at any other time, as well as more likely to have recurring incidents of previous mental health problems. It is important to remember that any woman can develop perinatal mental health problems.

It is widely reported that poor mental health during the perinatal period can impact on the developing infant and the mother’s ability to form a healthy attachment with their baby. This can, in some cases, lead to the baby developing cognitive, behavioural, emotional and social problems later on. The focus of the team is to prevent problems and intervene early to promote early recovery.

Referral criteria

Referrals are accepted from any health professionals working with women in the perinatal period. Their GP is informed of the referral.

The CPT will also provide telephone advice to health professionals in primary and secondary care about managing mental illness in the perinatal period.

The criteria include:

Women who are registered with a Hertfordshire GP, who are pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum who are experiencing or at risk of significant perinatal mental health disorders and cannot be effectively managed by primary care services. This includes:     


- Previous episodes of post-partum psychos
- Bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders and serious affective disorder
- Previous or current moderate - severe depression or anxiety
- PTSD / Previous birth trauma
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders

Women who are already open to Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust services will normally remain with their community care coordinator, but can be referred for psychiatric advice. By agreement of the consultant psychiatrists in both teams, their psychiatric care may be taken over by the CPT Consultant Psychiatrist.

Women who are registered with a GP outside of Hertfordshire, delivering their babies in Watford General Hospital or Lister Hospital who are experiencing or at risk of moderate to severe mental health problems can be referred to be seen by the CPT in the joint clinics, but on going treatment needs will be referred to local psychiatric teams.

Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 - if perinatal psychiatric disorder dominates the clinical picture. In such situations, the team will work closely with the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Hertfordshire women with a history of severe perinatal or other mental health disorder can be referred for preconception counselling.

Women with alcohol/substance misuse problems, only if there is also (or suspected) moderate to severe mental illness as well.

Referral process

A referral form will need to be completed, click here to access the form.

You can also request a referral form by calling: 0300 124 0939 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm).

Please ensure all sections are complete and send the form to: 

Email: herts.cpt@nhs.net (please ensure you are emailing the form from a secure network and connection)

Post: Community Perinatal Team, 15 Forest Lane, Kingsley Green, Harper Lane, Radlett, Herts, WD7 9HQ

Urgent referrals - Please call the team directly on: 0300 124 0939 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)

To discuss a referral - Please call the team directly on: 0300 124 0939 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)

Referring through the Single Point of Access (SPA) route - Referrals can also be made through the Single Point of Access (SPA) route by calling: 0300 777 0707 (8am- 7pm)

Further information

There are other sources of support available for families who do not require the specialist support of the Community Perinatal Team. Click here to visit the Families First Directory for a list of available services.

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