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NHS Personal Health Budget for Maternity Pilot


What is a Personal Health Budget? A personal health budget (PHB) is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to benefit people with long-term conditions, disabilities and mental health issues greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

What is the PHB Maternity Pilot? Waltham Forest CCG are running a pilot to offer a PHB to women referred to the Birth Options Clinic at Whipps Cross Hospital and The Homerton Hospital, and experiencing symptoms of ‘Tocophobia’ or intense anxiety during their pregnancy. The focus of the maternity pilot is to improve access to therapies and services that provide relaxation, gentle exercise and wellbeing activities (E.g. massage, yoga, and reflexology) and learn strategies to reduce stress and help manage anxiety, worry and fear about their pregnancy and birth of their child. (E.g. through Hypnotherapy, Hypno-birthing, and parenting groups).

How long can I use the Maternity PHB? From 2 months into pregnancy until the birth of your baby. For questions relating to your pregnancy, or health and wellbeing, please contact:

Mr. Felipe Castro Cardona – Consultant Midwife in Normality and Public Health – Tel: 020 8539 5522 ext 4078 or Mobile: 07776017499

Philippa Cox, Consultant Midwife / Supervisor of Midwives – Tel: 020 8510 7046 (Direct line)

How much is the Personal Health Budget? You will be provided with £500 to pay for the services agreed in your support plan. The budget will be loaded on to a Waltham Forest Pre-paid card that can be used just like a debit or credit card. You cannot top up the budget with your own money. The PHB cannot be used for any NHS services, prescriptions or emergency care, as these will continue to remain free for you at the point of access.

In what ways can I use the Maternity PHB? A useful list of local services and support providers will be published here:

Here are some examples of what is available:

  • Transport via Taxi to health appointments at Whipps Cross Hospital, The Homerton Hospital or GP Surgery
  • Ante-natal and post-natal support services, Pregnancy Massage, Reflexology, Reiki
  • Yoga and Aqua Yoga for Pregnancy, Pilates for Pregnancy, Swimming, Hydro-Therapy
  • Walking groups, Singing Groups, Parenting Groups, and Coffee Mornings
  • Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Hypnotherapy and Hypno-Birthing classes
  • To access a ‘Doula’ or lay birthing attendant to support you (where cost allows)


What must I do to be involved in the PHB Maternity pilot?

Support Planning: You will need to engage in a 2-hour support planning meeting with a female Support Worker from User-Led Organisation ‘Reaching Out East’ at their offices in Chingford Mount (E4), or in your home. The PHB will be personalised to you, reflecting your individual health and wellbeing outcomes, and will detail the agreed plan for spending your budget. Support plans can be revised should health problems or other circumstances prevent the budget from being spent as planned.

Evaluation: We will ask you to take part in a 3-stage evaluation. A questionnaire of 6 questions will be requested at the start of the support planning process, then again at a 3-month interval. A month after the birth of your baby, providing it is appropriate, we require you to take part in a telephone questionnaire of 36 evaluation questions to capture the experience of the PHB on your sense of wellbeing. What are the next steps? Please contact Michelle at Reaching Out East on Tel: 020 8519 6369 (opt 2) or Email: – quoting ‘Waltham Forest Maternity PHB’.

Local Directory of Services for Maternity and Parenting in Waltham Forest

Follow the links below to see the range of classes, courses, support groups and advice services available for pregnant women.

Free NHS Service in Waltham Forest – IAPT

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, or IAPT, is an NHS primary care service in England which offers a free and confidential evidence-based psychological therapy service for people who are 18 years of age and over, and who are feeling stressed, anxious, low in mood or depressed.

You can refer yourself to Waltham Forest IAPT by calling between the hours of 9am – 5pm on 0300 555 1271 and you will be booked in for an initial assessment. Outside office hours there is an answerphone, please leave your contact details and someone will call you back.

Free support services provided by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, including parenting courses, baby and toddler groups, and children’s centres

Children & Young People’s – Local Offer –

Strengthening Families Course –

Useful links for lists of Ante-natal classes, Baby Services and Parenting Support Groups

Yoga, Aqua Yoga & Fitness for Pregnancy

Ante-Natal Classes – NCT Leyton and Chingford

Pregnancy Massage

Hypnobirthing & Hypnotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture –

Physiotherapy –

Physiotherapy –

Homeopathy –

Reflexology, Yoga, Massage, Doulas –

Birth Trauma Support

Shared Experiences Helpline

Our Shared Experiences Helpline supports parents who are experiencing specific difficulties, problems, worries or other issues during pregnancy, birth and early parenthood by putting them in touch with someone who personally understands.

If you or someone you know needs the support of the Shared Experiences Helpline,

Telephone: 0300 330 0700 on Monday – Friday from 9am – 7pm.

You can leave a message outside of these hours and someone will call you back.


Telephone: 0845 600 85 33


Telephone: 01788 551919


What is a doula? A doula supports women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood.

It is becoming increasingly common for women to use a doula in addition to receiving pregnancy care from a midwife. Birth doulas provide flexible and continuous support before, during and often after the child is born. They may help with other children, encourage a partner with support while the child is being born, nurture and support the mother, and give support to help establish breastfeeding.

According to the findings of the research carried out by Klaus, Kennel and Klaus “Mothering mothers” from 1993, a Doula’s presence can:

  • Shorten first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
  • Decrease the chance of caesarian section by 51%
  • Decrease the need for pain medication by 36%
  • Reduce need for forceps delivery by 57%
  • Help fathers participate with confidence
  • Increases success in breastfeeding