New mother and baby units announced

For a small number of women who are suffering from poor mental health around having a new baby, the best place for them to get help and to recover is a mother and baby unit.

Three years ago, 8 weeks after having my third child, I was admitted to a mother and baby unit and there I stayed for 9 weeks.

It isn't right for everyone but was right for me at the time.

Living there felt safe and secure but the reality of being so poorly that I couldn't function in general society was terrifying.

Three years later and it is astonishing to remember how poorly I was.

The sad fact is that many women like me need inpatient care around the time that they are having a new baby. However there are only 17 units in the UK...many with as few as 5 beds.

This leaves many women who need inpatient care without a specialist place to go, resulting in them going to general adult units where they will be separated from their babies.

The map below shows the mother and baby units currently in the UK. As you can see, if you live in Wales or Northern Ireland there is no impatient care available. Equally if you live on the tip of Cornwall, you would have to travel a very long distance to a mother and baby unit.

There is good news though. NHS trusts in Kent, Devon, Lancashire and Norfolk announced last year that they will soon be opening mother and baby units by the end of 2018.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Much more funding is needed if the women who are most at risk are to receive the care that they need for full recovery.

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PANDAS West Dorset


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