Campaigning for Mother & Baby Units across the UK

Hi all

There has been a great thread on MBU provision - very interesting to get a sense of the whole picture across the UK. You may notice that there is no provision at all in Devon & Cornwall - 2 of the biggest counties in the UK!! I'm pleased to report that my local perinatal mental health team in Exeter is really keen to get some campaigning going for equitable provision in the South West... Please send me a personal message if you are SW-based and up for being involved.

It is a very good time in the next 6 months to raise the profile of MBU provision as the way NHS services are commissioned is having a big shake-up. You may have heard about the GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which will take over buying of local services from April 2013. Each CCG has a legal requirement to show that they are listening to the views of local people about what services should be provided. This is where Healthwatch comes in... It would be brilliant if as many of us as possible who are passionate about this issue take part in our local Healthwatch - either in person or by writing. These will get going in April 2013 but in the meantime Local Involvement Networks (LINKs) are a good place to make contact and start networking!

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13 Replies

  • I live in Sheffield,but I would be very keen to take part in any campaigning you have in mind.

    Please send me a message and let me know what you want me to do


  • Hi Poulson - thanks!

    First port of call would be to sign up to your local Healthwatch (called LINk until April 2013)

    All being well on 10th December MIND will be publishing a blog about the need for MBU's as part of their Crisis Care campaign - will link here so you can tweet about it or share with your friends on FB.

    The local perinatal team may also be organising a publicity stunt some time in 2013 down here in sunny Devon so I will keep everyone posted if you fancy a trip!

    All the best, Naomi

  • Hi Naomi,

    I've just signed up with my local one here: It only took a minute & it directed me to my local LINK website for more info. I'll wait & see what information I get back when the email comes.

    Do keep us posted about Devon, I do fancy a trip! x

  • Brilliant thanks Andrea & Poulson

    Here is the Mind blog - you can find out more about the quality of crisis care in your own area at the bottom of the page.


  • Hi Naomi,

    When I get a minute I will also sign up.


  • Hi Naomi, this is a useful post, thanks. I work in the area of Health & Social Care and have some involvement with a Healthwatch tender process as part of my job so probably can't get too involved as yet, but will look to do so when everything is a bit more settled. The CCGs represent a significant change and in my personal experience of PP, my own GP was amazing and very good resource. So I am hopeful for this. However, my local health provision has changed (and continues to do so), with the MBU I was in having closed due to health & safety concerns - whatever that means - after another Trust took over the services. My local hospital is also out to consultation on their maternity services. So it's probably even more important that perinatal mental health should be a consideration at this time of change. I've already done some emails to people such as local councillors and the CCG re the hospital and my illness, trying to raise some awareness. Hope it all goes well, keep us posted on the South West progress - and if you need any input from Yorkshire, let me know!

  • Thanks for your post spannerb

    It is such a shame to hear about the unit in Yorkshire closing. I agree with you that perinatal services across the board (not just Tier 4 inpatient services) do need to be firmly on the agenda with all the change in commissioning processes.

    I've recently been made aware of the Patient Opinion site, which apparently has a lot of traction with NHS senior managers. So for anyone who wants to post their story of perinatal mental health care - good or bad - and influence change this is a good place to start.

    Also to update on progress in the South West... I've been invited to a Strategic Clinical Network meeting to speak to commissioners about the need for a MBU in January! We shall see what happens next...


  • That's exciting about the meeting in Jan! Keep us posted how it goes. And I'll check out that website too.

  • I'm in perinatal service as of yet but working hard to try and get the ball rolling, would be great to have a MBU in the SW, I'm too scared to have another baby without any service as it currently is...fingers crossed!

  • Hi Vix

    It's great news you are working hard in Cornwall to get perinatal services on the agenda. Very moving reading the first part of your story. When did you start to feel fully recovered? I know Jo Black, our Exeter-based perinatal psychiatrist is also working with professionals down in Cornwall to inform them about what's worked for perinatal services on a tight budget here in Devon!

    Feel free to direct message me if you want to connect up more about what's going on in the SW - maybe we could meet up some time?


  • Hi all

    Presentation at the South West Strategic Clinical Network went really well today! There were senior clinical staff from many professional groups there who are ensuring that antenatal and postnatal mental health stays high on the agenda. I managed to stay composed while talking about my older child not being able to visit me on the general psych ward, and crying out for me behind the locked glass doors.

    Vix and any other Devon/Cornwall based members - will keep you informed as soon as I know whether a Mother & Baby Unit will be funded in our part of the country!


  • Hi all,

    After I signed up with my local Healthwatch they regularly send me emails with documents to comment on. The latest was engagement for the new NHS 111 phone service (a route to urgent healthcare but less urgent than 999). I think the service could be a real lifeline to women with PP who don't know where to turn when they become ill & they were very interested in my comments. They've now asked me to take part in the national testing of the service which is being held at NHS Direct headquarters & they seem very grateful for the input! This is a great opportunity to make sure that they give out the correct responses & get it right!!

  • Wow fantastic news Andrea - there's so much opportunity to get involved in shaping things at the moment but the NHS don't seem to publicise widely yet about Healthwatch!


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