To investigate whether women were being asked about their current and previous mental health, and where risk factors for perinatal mental health problems were identified, to determine whether appropriate referral occurred. Individual case-note review was performed on women where present or past mental health problems were indicated.
In two-thirds of women where a history of mental health problems was indicated at the booking clinic this was not addressed in their obstetric case notes. Of the women who reported being depressed, nearly a third had no reference to this in their obstetric case notes and only 40% were referred to the Mental Health Liaison Clinic (MHLC). Two-thirds of the women who indicated a history of postnatal depression had no further comments documented in their obstetric case notes. One case of bipolar affective disorder and one case of puerperal psychosis were identified on booking questionnaires and neither had any comments documented in the obstetric case notes. In total 16% of women who reported a history of mental health problems were referred to the MHLC.
More robust procedures for the identification and management of perinatal mental health risk need to be implemented.
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