Women living in Cumbria and Lancashire who are experiencing perinatal mental health problem can now access care, support and treatment through a new Mother and Baby Unit and Outreach service, which has opened in Central Lancashire.
Ribblemere is an eight-bed Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for mothers who are experiencing severe mental illness during the latter stages of pregnancy or in the year after giving birth, and who cannot be treated safely in their own home. The new MBU is based at Chorley Hospital and will provide a safe place for women to be supported and treated alongside their babies, allowing for their relationship to be maintained and nurtured alongside their recovery.
The Trust is also developing a community service for new and expectant mums with moderate to severe perinatal mental illness who live in Lancashire and South Cumbria. The service will provide women in the area with timely access to specialist advice, treatment and support in the community to help them to recover whilst also supporting their relationship with their infant. This service is due to launch in January 2019.
Dr Gill Strachan, Consultant Psychiatrist for the MBU at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are incredibly excited to have opened this brand new mother and baby unit here in the North West. Perinatal mental health problems are a major public health concern with up to 20% of women developing a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.
“The new service is a huge development for women living across Lancashire and Cumbria that are experiencing severe perinatal mental illness. By providing the service in Lancashire it means that, for the first time women are able to access specialist care alongside their baby which is closer to home. Previously women have had to travel to units outside the counties and away from their families, which can often add to their distress.
“We have been working closely with mums with lived experience and our partners from Action on Postpartum Psychosis to co-produce, design and shape the service based on their knowledge and experience. We have also been working closely with national and regional experts to learn from the best practice to ensure we provide the best care for women and their families.
“Our priority is to provide timely, effective care for women and their families, and providing this fantastic service here in Lancashire will mean that women who are at risk of, or suffering from perinatal mental illnesses are given appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr Jo Black, National Clinical Director for perinatal mental health at NHS England said:
“An additional 7,000 new parents accessed specialist perinatal mental health care on the NHS last year, and we’re committed to driving forward further improvements for new mums and their babies.
“This new unit is part of an ambitious programme of work to ensure families can access the right care - both in the community and in hospital - no matter where they live, and by April next year every part of the country will have specialist services in their area.”
For more information about this exciting development please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/perinatal-mental-health.