Six-week check for new mothers must be funded, says RCGP

Publication date: 05 September 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a report from the National Childbirth Trust.

She said: "Having a baby is usually a very special time but it can lead to a whole host of physical and mental health concerns for new mothers, and it's essential they feel comfortable discussing these with their GP and other healthcare professionals, and that they receive the appropriate support.

"The routine six-week postnatal check, usually offered to all new mothers in addition to the formal health check of their newborn baby, should be a time for the GP to be able to talk to women about issues affecting their mental and physical health and wellbeing and take steps to address them.

"But, even though six-week checks are generally longer than the standard 10-minute appointment, it is still incredibly hard for GPs to explore all the different factors potentially affecting a new mother's health within the time constraints – particularly at a time when general practice is facing intense resource and workforce pressures.

"Checks for new mothers need to be funded and promoted in the same way that checks for newborns are so that GPs can spend the time they feel they need to with both the baby and its mother. We hope today's calls from the National Childbirth Trust for the Government to fund checks for all new mothers are given serious consideration so that we can continue to give all of our patients, including new mothers, the care they need and deserve."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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