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

The RCGP, in response to new research from the National Childbirth Trust, has stated that six-week checks for new mothers must be funded in order to ensure they get the medical attention they require

The National Childbirth Trust has revealed new research which shows that nearly half (47%) get less than three minutes to discuss their own mental and physical health at post-natal check-ups.

1,025 women were surveyed about the GP treatment they received following childbirth.

A sixth of mothers were given no time at all to discuss their own health, while less than a third (31%) had under three minutes to do so.

Additionally, a quarter said they weren’t asked about their own wellbeing at all.

The RCGP has responded to this news, stating that six-week checks for new mothers must be funded.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, 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 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.”

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