What is Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria?
A brand new specialist inpatient unit and community outreach service for mothers with perinatal mental health problems will open in just under a months’ time.
The brand new Lancashire and Cumbria eight-bed mother and baby unit (MBU) will be an inpatient facility 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 safely treated in their own homes. Mothers admitted to the MBU will be supported and treated alongside their babies allowing for their relationship to be maintained and nurtured alongside their recovery.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation 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.
Dr Gill Strachan, Consultant Psychiatrist for the MBU at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are incredibly excited to be opening 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.”
The Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) will be based at Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital and will open its doors to patients next month. The complimentary outreach and community service will become live from the end of September 2018. For more information please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/perinatal-mental-health.