In 2015, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland carried out a themed visit to find out how many women received care in a local adult acute ward, without their baby, during a period of perinatal mental illness. They found that just over one third of women were separated from their baby, sometimes for a prolonged period. In Scotland, it is a legal duty for Health Boards to provide joint mother and baby admissions.
We know from the Perinatal Mental Health Network’s recent Needs Assessment Report (2019) that 44 women could not be admitted immediately to Leverndale Mother and Baby Unit in 2018.
From 1 April 2019, every acute general adult ward and intensive psychiatric care unit (IPCU) will be required to contact the Commission if a mother of a baby under 12 months old is admitted to their care. The Commission will gather monitoring information in each case and national results will be shared with the network.
The hope is to identify ongoing barriers to Mother and Baby Unit admissions, inform national service development and, crucially, improve women’s access to specialist inpatient perinatal mental health care, wherever they live in Scotland.
We look forward to finding out the important results of this project, seeing barriers removed and achieving equal access for all women and families.
- Mental Welfare Commission (2015). Perinatal Themed Visit Report: Keeping Mothers and Babies in Mind
- Perinatal Mental Health Network (2019) Delivering Effective Services: Needs Assessment and Service Recommendations for Specialist and Universal Perinatal Mental Health Services