Why we're changing how we manage mother and baby mental health services
Currently we have three specialised mother and baby in-patient units in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester providing 13 beds for women and their babies. In Nottingham, the in-patient mother and baby unit is closely linked with a specialised community mental health team while in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire there are partially developed community teams. The majority of women with less serious illnesses are managed in the community by their GPs.
There are several national guidelines for antenatal and postnatal mental health which recommend that specialised mother and baby services should be provided for women with serious mental illness in pregnancy and following giving birth. However, we know that in the East Midlands many women are not being referred to specialised mother and baby units. Instead they are being admitted to general psychiatric wards and are separated from their babies. There are large areas of the East Midlands that have no specialised community mental health teams. Women in late pregnancy and in the early weeks after giving birth have special needs and the care of them and their babies requires specialist skills and resources to ensure the best outcome for both mother and baby. Adult mental health services may find it difficult to prioritise the needs of women and their babies and deliver the care they need.