What progress has the Welsh Government made towards ensuring that Wales has a specialist health visitor in perinatal and infant mental health in each health board area?
It is for health boards to determine their staffing needs from their existing allocation to provide community services. Within specialist perinatal mental health teams, health boards are working toward compliance with standards 1 and 2 of the staffing compositions set out in the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) workforce standards, however we recognise that health visitors are not named specifically in these standards.
We recognise that parent-infant relationships are important in improving resilience in perinatal mental health. In the latest edition of the RCPsych standards for specialist perinatal mental health teams, the role of parent-infant therapist role has been introduced, as part of type 3 standards. The recent mental health service improvement funding letter confirms that we expect LHB submissions to reflect the staffing requirements necessary to comply with types 1- 3 standards. Health boards are in the process of submitting these proposals.
The Perinatal Mental Health National Clinical Lead (PMHNCL) has also been working with health boards to raise awareness of the benefit of having a perinatal mental health specialist Health Visitor. Two health boards now have this post in place and a job description has been shared across health boards to ensure the role is standardised for other health boards wanting to recruit.
In addition, the Healthy Child Wales Programme includes a consistent range of evidence-based preventative and early intervention measures, as well as advice and guidance to support parenting. The programme offers a routine assessment by health visitors of attachment and bonding to support positive parent-child relationships and promote positive maternal and family emotional health and resilience.