North London Partners Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service
The North London Partners Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service (SPMHS) is a community-based mental health team serving the needs of pregnant and postnatal women with moderate to severe mental health needs. The team comprises of perinatal psychiatrists, clinical nurse specialists, a clinical psychologist and administrators.
We assess and treat mental health problems in women who are:
planning a pregnancy and need advice
currently pregnant or have had a baby in the past six months
from pregnancy have developed new onset mental illness or relapsed during pregnancy or during the six months after delivery who are at high risk of becoming acutely unwell in pregnancy or postnatally.
Referrals can also be made to a mother and baby unit when needed.
SPMHS covers five London Boroughs: Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington. The service is for those women accessing obstetric care at the following five maternity centres:
North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH)
Royal Free Hospital (RFH)
University College London Hospital (UCLH)
Women over 18 years old
Women who are currently in the care of psychiatric services; or with a current or previous severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, postpartum psychosis (also known as puerperal psychosis), other psychotic disorders, severe affective disorder, severe anxiety disorders e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorder
Women who are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant
Women who have had a relapse of serious mental illness following the birth of their baby with follow-up for up to 12 months
Exclusions: We are not able to provide services for substance misuse problems in the absence of mental health problems.
Women experiencing milder forms of perinatal mental health problems should consult their midwives, health visitor and GP for other support available in the NHS such as talking therapy.
Our goal is to see new referrals within six weeks of receiving the referral. If the referral is deemed urgent we aim to see the woman within two weeks.
Women will generally be seen in outpatient clinics in the hospital or community. The team offers psycho-education and advice, assessment and information about other services.
Assessment, advice and treatment may be in collaboration with the woman’s usual psychiatric team where she has one, and alongside the midwifery and obstetric teams.
The service will agree a personalised care plan that embraces what is important to the woman during her pregnancy. We aim to promote wellbeing in the woman and her family and prevent relapse in pregnancy and the early postpartum period.
Comprehensive medication advice is available for those with mental illness on psychiatric medications who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or breast feeding.
We will support mothers in developing a healthy relationship with their infants, thus reducing the impact of maternal mental illness on child development. We also encourage the involvement of fathers or partners in the process.
To improve the health and wellbeing of women who have, or are at risk of mental health problems and improve outcomes for women, their infants, partners and their families. We follow the NICE guidelines on Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health.
To detect, prevent and treat perinatal mental illness and allow women time to consider the treatment and support options available in order to receive safe and effective care.
We will work collaboratively with families/carers, and various other statutory and voluntary services I.e. maternity services, obstetricians, health visitors other secondary mental health services and GP’s to ensure good partnership working to support women’s physical and mental health needs.
We are active with teaching and training other health professionals so that they can have a good working knowledge of how mental health problems affect women in pregnancy and after birth.