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Mums from Muswell Hill and Highgate call for new GP rules to fix ‘patchy and inconsistent’ maternal mental health care

PUBLISHED: 12:33 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 04 December 2018

Delphine Grauf (left) with Catherine West who supports the #hiddenhalf maternal mental health campaign. Picture: NCT

Delphine Grauf (left) with Catherine West who supports the #hiddenhalf maternal mental health campaign. Picture: NCT

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Mothers from Muswell Hill and Highgate have spoken out in favour of a national campaign to improve mental health care for new mums as research shows care for those in Haringey needs to improve.

The local National Childbirth Trust (NCT) branch is at the forefront of a national campaign to mandate doctors to spend a ten minute appointment with each new mum six weeks after birth to discuss their mental health.

According to a survey of 70 Haringey women, only 40 per cent said their GP asked them about their emotional wellbeing.

Highgate woman Fiona Doyle leads the NCT branch. She said: “The results of the survey in Haringey show that, although some women receive good care, there is a clear need to improve the detection of and support for perinatal mental illness in the area. Services are currently patchy and inconsistent and women are falling through gaps.”

Campaigner Delphine Grauf, 40, from Muswell Hill, now has two young children. But shortly after she gave birth to her first child three and a half years ago, she found herself struggling with her mental health.

She told the Ham&High: “I am one of the lucky ones who was diagnosed early and referred for support, but it was only because of an unfortunate set of circumstances and not because any health professional dwelled into my mental wellbeing after giving birth.

“I’ve found people really open up when they hear my own story.”

The NCT are campaigning using the hashtag #HiddenHalf for provision for a maternal mental health check to be included in the GP contracts currently being negotiated by NHS England and the British Medical Association.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has raised the issue in parliament. She said: “I’m very pleased that #HiddenHalf is prioritising psychological care for women as part of GP contracts and I’m delighted to support the campaign.”

The Chair of the BMA’s GPs’ committee Dr Richard Vaughtrey said: “It is not part of the contract although some practices do invite women to attend a specific review whilst others do this more informally.”

The Department of Health and Haringey CCG have been contacted for comment.

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