I am grateful to everyone who has emailed me recently about new mothers' mental health.
It is vitally important that women have access to the right care during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year. As you may be aware, I was fortunate enough to be the Government Minister responsible for mental health for a year, between 2015-16. As such I worked to further particularly our perinatal mental health services, and to ensure that the money promised by central government flowed through to local mental health services.
I can assure you that the Government remains committed to improving perinatal mental health services with the Department for Health investing £365 million over five years. In addition, 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. Where possible, the transformation programme aims to improve prevention of perinatal mental illness, including through earlier diagnosis and intervention, support for recovery and reducing avoidable harm.
Investment by NHS England in multidisciplinary perinatal mental health clinical networks, which include GPs, will also help to drive change. I hope that by working together through these networks, health practitioners can ensure women at risk of perinatal mental health problems are identified at an earlier stage and can receive better, more coordinated care.