The Parliamentary Health Ombudsman investigation May 2018 to January 2021 decision is that; the actions of both the G.P. and Health Visitor in Rebecca, her baby and his Dad’s care was not negligent. This concludes that there is no Legislation/Guidelines on how to proceed in cases such as theirs where a death occurs.
5B) INADEQUATE MEASURES
Dept of Health and Social Care: Perinatal Mental Health for Health Visitors
In the Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011-15 – A Call to Action, published by Ministers on 8 February 2011, the government committed to developing a larger, re-energised health visiting service.
The Health Visitor Implementation Plan contains core aims to “improve opportunities to use the full range of health visitor skills and re-emphasise health visitors as key public health professionals” and to “ensure a strong focus on responding to differential needs and improving outcomes, and that systems promote effective join-up between services in ways that best meet local needs”. Training Health Visitors to identify and treat postnatal depression, including making referrals to specialist counselling, is a key driver of these aims.
Training Health Visitors to identify and treat postnatal depression was the focus of a major announcement by the Secretary of State (May 2012), with the Department of Health press release stating “these key healthcare professionals will be able to access new evidence and training so they can identify and support women with postnatal depression”.
Postpartum depression is currently poorly identified and therefore often untreated, and therefore is a significant area for public health improvement. Training of Health Visitors is an effective intervention to bring about this improvement.
5C) MORE INADEQUATE MEASURES (see 30B)
Disclosure : “Many women said that the range of options they were offered tended to be narrow: the majority described GP responses being strongly reliant on prescribing”……..This may be related to a lack of faith described by GPs in the availability of timely help from local specialist services”.