A new specialist community perinatal service is now available for women in north Cumbria. The service supports both expecting and new mums who are experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period.
Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child.
To celebrate the launch of the service an event was held where members of the team were on hand to talk about the service and the support available.
Amy McKeown, Team Lead, north Cumbria perinatal service has been involved in setting up the service:
“Pregnancy is a life altering experience and inevitably it can impact on a mother’s mental health. The launch of this new service is fantastic news as it means we are able to provide improved care and mental health support for woman during this critical time in their lives. This new service will have a positive impact on families in north Cumbria for many years to come.
“We are really looking forward to showcasing the service at our event and meeting everyone who comes along. It will be a great day for networking and for people to find out more about we can offer as well as hearing from other services and charities who can talk about what they do.”
The service began delivering care to patients in north Cumbria earlier this year and is also available for women in south Cumbria; this is provided by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT). LCFT have also recently launched a new inpatient facility for mothers with serious mental health problems to stay with their babies.
The service offers psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during pregnancy up to one year after giving birth. The service will also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.
Women will be able access the service via their:
• Health Visitor
• GP referral
Additionally women can be referred through other mental health services.
The support will be received via community care, typically Monday – Friday working hours.
In north Cumbria, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) currently deliver the service however from 1st October 2019 the service will be provided by Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW). This follows commissioning intentions issued in January 2018 by Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group and North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group that mental health and learning disability services need to be delivered into the integrated care systems that cover north and south Cumbria.
Both CPFT and NTW are already working closely together whereby expertise from NTW’s existing perinatal community mental health service is being used to strengthen the service in Cumbria.
CPFT and LCFT are two of 35 new sites across the country to have been awarded funding, as part of a drive by NHS England to enable access to specialist perinatal mental health community services across the country by April next year.