Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, joined BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today to discuss extending maternity leave for those who are new parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, parents of a six-month old baby launched a petition asking the government to extend maternity leave by an extra three months. They believe that the lockdown has meant parents have missed out on the usual things you’d do on maternity, putting them at a disadvantage. This lead to a House of Commons Petitions Committee discussion where Dr Adams contributed some evidence and raised the profile of the work of health visitors during COVID-19 (see our news story on this). The the signatures for the petition are still coming in – it’s not know yet whether it’ll be debated in the House of Commons but there id due to be another Q&A session on Thursday this week.

Dr Adams says:

“There are challenges for new parents under lockdown due to COVID. There’s been so much attention on hospitals and needing to treat people, that the needs of families have perhaps been forgotten – this has been a big concern of the Institute.”

And in response to concerns about the reported increase in perinatal depression, Dr Adams commented:

“My advice is that GPs are open, health visiting services are open, midwives are there, so if anyone is feeling anxious, please, please pick up the phone and call.”

The news item on extending maternity leave starts at the beginning of today’s Woman’s Hour programme and runs for about 10 minutes. You can listen to Dr Adams between 5.39 and 10.03 on the BBC Radio 4 link below: