We call for Accountability at a national level for perinatal mental health care in the UK.
It should be clear which ministers, commissioners and health providers are responsible for making sure there are sufficient, high-quality services for all the women who need them.
Levels of provision should be monitored, and people and organisations held to account for gaps in provision.
We also call for national strategies to rectify the urgent shortfall of specialist inpatient mother and baby units. At present, there is an estimated shortfall of 60 mother and baby unit beds across the UK.
The role of accredited specialist inpatient mother and baby units
Inpatient mother and baby units admit seriously mentally ill women in late pregnancy and the first year after birth, together with their infants. They aim to admit women directly without the need for prior admission to a general adult psychiatric ward.
Without these units, women have to be separated from their babies, which can be detrimental to the women and their babies.
There are 15 inpatient mother and baby units in England and two in Scotland. In Wales and Northern Ireland, there is not a single specialist inpatient mother and baby unit.
All mother and baby units belong to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Quality Care Network and are inspected annually using national quality standards.
All mother and baby units continuously assess a mother’s care of and attachment to her baby to determine the level of supervision, support and guidance the mother requires to meet the emotional and developmental needs of her infant.
The staff at an inpatient mother and baby unit will have the skills needed to promote attachment and parenting interventions. Many units will also have psychologists who provide additional expertise in psychological treatments and parenting interventions.
West Scotland mother & baby unit
Morpeth mother & baby unit
Please note: the phone number shown at the end of the video is no longer active.