01 MAY 2019

Calling on the PM to back our campaign for better postnatal care

Prime Minister Theresa May was asked to back the campaign for better postnatal care in Kent as part of World Maternal Mental Health Week. I raised the case of Rebecca Kruza during Prime Minister's Questions today.

Rebecca took her own life in 2017 while suffering from postnatal depression, with the coroner saying more deaths could occur unless action is taken. In the House of Commons today, I asked Theresa May: "In 2017 my constituent Rebecca Kruza had her whole life ahead of her when she took her own life while suffering from postnatal depression.

"Her baby boy will now grow up without a mother. And many mothers returning to work struggle with their mental health while seeking to balance the demands of work and parenting.

"Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day. Does the PM agree that there needs to be stronger support for mothers returning to work and will she back the campaign by Rebecca's family for more specialist mother and baby units across the country?"

Prime Minister Theresa May responded: "Can I first of all thank my Honourable Friend for raising a very important issue. And secondly send condolences to the family of his constituent, particularly that young son who will be growing up without his mother.

"It's this issue of postnatal depression – that issue of people returning to work as well and balancing those childcare and work responsibilities – is an important one.

"We are looking at a new returners programme to help those who are returning to the workplace. I know my Honourable Friend the minister responsible for mental health is also doing some very good work looking at this whole question of mental health provision particularly for mothers with young babies.

"This is an area – it's right for my Honourable Friend to have raised it – it's one the Government is looking at in a number of ways.

"And we will aim to ensure that nobody else suffers in the way that his constituent and her family did."

Following Rebecca's death, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust was ordered to produce a Regulation 28 Report to explain how it will improve postnatal support. It followed the death of Rebecca Kruza, 39, from Folkestone, who took her own life at her mother's home in Alkham in June 2017.Following a traumatic labour and breastfeeding difficulties due to her baby's tongue tie and colic, Rebecca became sleep deprived before being diagnosed with postnatal depression. At her inquest Coroner Alan Blundson initially ruled the suicide could not have been prevented, but then ordered the Regulation 28 Report to Prevent Future Deaths.

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has responded pointing to an eight-bed Mother and Baby Unit in Dartford which opened last year.

But Rebecca's mother Lyn Richardson and sister Kate Kruza say more units and wider support are needed – because the new unit serves a population of 4.5 million across Kent, Sussex and Surrey. In the absence of beds, the alternative means sectioning to a Kent hospital psychiatric unit and forced separation from the baby until a bed becomes available.

Lyn and Kate are working with me to increase provision.


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Charlie Elphicke

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