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OS data supports Birmingham’s perinatal mental health service

Perinatal mental health is concerned with the mental wellbeing of antenatal and postnatal women and their child, partner and families.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust needed to assess how well the service was meeting its population’s needs so that barriers to accessing services could be identified and overcome. Using various data sets from OS together with other information, this was achieved through analysing the demographics of the community and inpatient perinatal service users, and comparing these with the population of the areas served.

What was the challenge?

  • Evaluating how well the Trust’s service was meeting the population’s needs so issues could be identified and overcome.
  • Assessing referral rates to target perinatal interventions.
  • Identifying the number of births in different areas of the city to women of different demographic communities.
  • Producing analysis at a geographic level suitable to guide improvements to services.

What was the solution?

Anonymised information including age, home postcode and ethnicity for women referred over a 17 month period was extracted from the Trust’s database. Separate analysis was carried out for referrals to the community perinatal service and the inpatient unit using a combination of statistical and geospatial analysis.

The number of women of different ethnicities being seen in different geographic areas was compared with the estimated number of women requiring perinatal mental health care in those areas to assess whether need was being met. The analysis used a number of datasets from Ordnance Survey.

What were the outcomes?

  • Integrated analysis identified a bias for referrals to Birmingham’s perinatal mental health service from the south of Birmingham, evident in community home visits and GP referral patterns. In contrast there were fewer referrals from the central and northern areas. The central areaof Birmingham is characterised by high social need, and a higher proportion of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and a higher referral rate was predicted.
  • Demographic analysis indicated that fewer women from Asian (especially Bangladeshi, Indian and Chinese) and black communities were being seen by the community perinatal teams than would be expected.
  • The analysis identified geographic, ethnic and social-demographic opportunities for improvements in the provision of community services.
  • Outcomes from the analysis informed changes to perinatal care resulting in an increase in women from BME communities being seen.
  • Recognised by Monitor as an example of best practice.

The products used

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