PREGNANT women and new mothers are missing out on specialist mental health services, Hampshire doctors have warned.

According to a survey released today, women across half the UK cannot access perinatal services which is putting both them and their babies at risk.

More than one in ten women develop mental illnesses during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs an award-winning perinatal service at Winchester’s Melbury Lodge, is calling for much-needed improvements to services.

Dr Alain Gregoire, consultant in perinatal psychology for the trust and chairman of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said: ‘The figures released today are an embarrassment for the NHS.

“Pregnancy and the first postnatal year are a critical time, with multiple pressures, demands and responsibilities, when women and their families should receive the best quality care.

“Specialist perinatal mental health services have the expertise to treat illnesses that particularly affect new mothers, and understand how to minimise the impact of mental illness on the woman’s pregnancy or developing baby.”

Dr Gregoire added: “Equitable access to specialist care for women’s mental health at this time is just as important and the NHS has a responsibility to ensure that this is available.”

The trust is backing the #everyonesbusiness campaign launched today to ensure women can access the treatment by 2020.