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Specialist PMH Mother and Baby Unit opens this month

17th October 2018

newborn-and-mum.jpgCumbria and Lancashire's new specialist Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) will open its doors for the first time on 30th October at Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital.

One of four new perinatal mental health MBUs in the country, the NHS England funded facility will provide in-patient support and personalised care for women and their babies with the most complex and severe needs who can’t be treated at home.

Women in Cumbria and Lancashire experiencing severe mental health crisis such as psychosis and schizophrenia will be cared for at the eight-bed unit and able to stay with their babies while they receive the specialist care they need. Having their babies close by while they are being treated and recovering will help mothers build a bond with their baby and support its physical and emotional wellbeing.

Supporting women’s mental health during pregnancy and in the year after birth has become an even greater priority in recent years, with as many as one in five women experiencing mental ill health in the perinatal period. Around two in every 1000 new mums are affected by mental health conditions such as severe depression, anxiety and in some cases postpartum psychosis, conditions strongly associated with maternal suicide.

Dr Gill Strachan, Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Lead at the North West Coast SCN and Consultant Psychiatrist for the MBU, said:

“Providing this fantastic service will mean that women who are at risk of, or suffering from, perinatal mental illnesses are given appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.”

“We are incredibly excited to be opening this brand new mother and baby unit here in the North West.

“The new service is a huge development for women living across Lancashire and Cumbria who are experiencing severe perinatal mental illness. Providing the service means that, for the first time, women are able to access specialist care alongside their baby 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.

“Providing this fantastic service here will mean that women who are at risk of, or suffering from, perinatal mental illnesses are given appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.”

The new facility in Lancashire, along with three other new MBUs in Kent, Devon and the East of England, will supplement the existing 15 dedicated units across the country which, in turn, will benefit from more beds, increasing capacity by 49 per cent by the end of 2018/19.

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