Parent-Infant relationship support in Scotland is on a positive path 

18 January 2023

Parenting and new life concept. Mother holding newborn baby boy

After two years of working with the Scottish Infant Mental Health development community, a recent evaluation report shows that the dedicated support given by the Parent-Infant Foundation to the Infant Mental Health services in Scotland has had an important impact. 

The Foundation’s work in Scotland is generously supported by The Cattanach Trust, William Grant Foundation and Charles Gordon Foundation, and part of the funding agreement included an independent evaluation after two years.  The research company, Rocket Science, were tasked with two main areas of focus; 
– evaluating how the Parent-Infant Foundation had supported two key NHS boards on helping develop specialised parent-infant relationship teams.  
– Understanding the support to all Scottish health boards via the Scottish development community hosted and supported by the Foundation.   

The evaluation included 19 qualitative interviews with Foundation staff, health boards, stakeholders and funders.  A survey of Scottish Infant Mental Health Development community, a literature review and a development framework workshop with 24 practitioners also formed part of the research.   

The highlights of the evaluation were that support from the Foundation was highly valued and seen as objective, knowledgeable and high quality. It also showed that access to the Foundation’s tools and resources were important and highly regarded. The success of these services was rooted in the skills and knowledge of the two Foundation development leads in post during the role out of the Government’s programme in Scotland. 

Intensive support to two health boards, NHS Lothian and NHS Highland was highly valued and the advice given supported them to move forward with confidence as the boards were reassured with the programme set out.  

The Scottish Infant Mental Health Development Community support for all health boards was seen as accessible. There was value seen in bringing peers together to connect in a small group setting to discuss relevant topics. It was felt that the independent chairing by the Parent-Infant Foundation was an important factor in its success. 

The report also had recommendations for developing the support offered by the Parent-Infant Foundation in the future. This included: 
– Looking to further expand the dedicated support provided to Lothian and Highland to other boards that need it. 
– Providing support and access to clinical leads who are unable to attend network events. 
– Working with academic partners to consider the training needs of the workforce. 
– Remaining focused on the voice of the baby. 

The findings from the development framework workshop are also being used to create a set of resources for Scottish Health boards and teams.   

Keith Reed, Chief Executive at the Parent-Infant Foundation said:  

“We are delighted that the value of what the team here at the Foundation can offer to the parent-infant relationship community has been independently confirmed and recognised in Scotland. As a UK wide organisation, we can offer the development community an important connection to projects, insights and resources from across the country to help progress different areas.  

“We are very pleased to be continuing to work with the Government and partners in Scotland and partners on further development in 2023.”   

The full report, which includes an executive summary can be read here

Click below to share this article