"The Parent & Baby Unit in North Staffordshire"

About: North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust / Perinatal psychiatry

(as the patient),

The Parent and Baby day Service is a specialist mental health service which provides therapeutic interventions for women and their partners from twenty weeks gestation until twelve months postnatal. The service takes referrals from across the four PCTs which cover North Staffordshire. The function of the service is to provide support for those women and their families who experience mental distress around the time of childbirth.

The service was offered new premises in Hanley Town Centre and were all set to move, but have been recently informed the premises have fallen through. They have also been told that their current premises in the hospital have to be vacated. The day service have been asked to come up with a new way of delivering the service without the need for premises or a nursery facility, which means the service would have to be taken into people's homes.

I feel very strongly about this proposed change, as I suffered from severe post natal depression after the births of both of my children. This service was a lifeline for me during both bouts of depression. 14 years ago when I first accessed it, the centre only opened Monday to Friday in the daytime. At this time I was admitted to Leighton Hospital psychiatric ward for 3 months whilst I recovered, then continued with my day patient treatment at the centre. When I had my second child, the centre opened seven days a week and I truly believe this was the only reason I was not admitted to a psychiatric hospital on this occasion, because I was able to spend 7 days a week in the centre if I needed to.

The nursery facility not only offered childcare for my baby whilst I was accessing therapies, but also served as a daily support for me when I spent my days in the centre. I can honestly say, if this service had not been available to me, I am confident I would no longer be alive and well.

Please do not close this service or change it to be offered in people's homes.... I believe it is needed, it is wanted and I feel it would be a travesty if it were lost.

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Response from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for your post re the Parent and Baby Day Unit currently at Bucknall Hospital. We are always very pleased to hear about how services have benefited people, and the aspects of the service that they value.

The Parent and Baby Day Service is valued by NSCHT and by local commissioners and stake-holders. The Day Service model is valued and the plan remains that an alternative site will be found so that the service can continue to function as currently commissioned. There has had to be some discussion and planning around what could be done if a suitable site cannot be found in the time-scale required, and alongside this, as with all our services, there have been discussions about how efficiencies could be made. This is prudent in the current climate. The Service is also keen to respond to concerns about accessibility and will take this into account in finding a suitable site. The plan remains for the service to move to a new site without any change to the model. Options for the model in future will be discussed with service users and other stake-holders if necessary in the future, as we greatly value service user and carer input into service design.

Best wishes

Christine Leaman

Clinical Director

Adult Mental Health Services