To survey current specialist perinatal psychiatric provisions and opinion about these services in England. A brief semi-structured confidential questionnaire was circulated to the lead clinician or manager responsible for perinatal services of the 78 mental health trusts in England.
Fifty-seven trusts (73%) responded. In 26 trusts (46%), availability of either specialist in-patient facilities and/or intensive home treatment facilities were reported. In only 13 trusts (23%) was there evidence of provision of services covering both in-patient and community components. The number of mother and baby units or their equivalents has reduced in the past decade. The services were generally considered to be inadequate nationwide and opinion remains divided about the best approach for providing them.
There is a need for a recommendation of a national standard provision of perinatal services by mental health trusts.
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