Perinatal mental health care will significantly improve for women and families in Surrey following a successful bid from Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with other health and care organisations, for a share of the £23 million from NHS England to deliver local specialist mental health services during the time, usually a number of weeks, immediately before and after birth.

Up to 20% of women will experience mental health problems during pregnancy. This new investment will support the implementation of Surrey’s Local Maternity Services Transformation Plan. The plan aims to enhance local experiences of maternity services by taking a whole system approach to improving access, as well as supporting the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant mothers across Surrey Heartlands.

The new service, which is due to launch in Autumn 2018, will deliver National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended treatments, and will work with specialist midwives in general hospitals, and health visiting teams in the community.

Preconception advice will be offered to women with current or past serious mental illness who are planning a pregnancy, as well as antenatal and postnatal support.

Dr Helen Rostill, Director of Innovation and Development at Surrey and Borders, said: “This money is a great opportunity to improve perinatal mental health care locally, and will make a really positive difference to new and expectant mums within Surrey.”

The bid was made in collaboration with the Surrey Heartlands and Frimley Health and Care Partnerships, and involved input from Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals, Royal Surrey County Hospital, and Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trusts, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Guildford and Waverley, North West Surrey, Surrey Downs and Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Groups, Maternal Health Alliance, Maternal Voice Partnerships, Children and Family Health Surrey, and South East Perinatal Health Networks.