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Hope at last for Mums with Anxiety and Postnatal Depression

The Launch of New Perinatal Mental Health Care Services in Kirklees, Calderdale, Barnsley and Wakefield

From 1st September 2017 a new Perinatal Mental Health Service started taking referrals. The service will be based in Dewsbury but will have staff based in all areas covered by the South and West Yorkshire NHS Partnership Foundation Trust which includes Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees, and Wakefield.

“Pregnancy and childbirth is a uniquely vulnerable time for women where there is a substantially increased risk of developing an episode of mental illness – the most likely time in a woman’s life.”

“There’s a need to raise the awareness of perinatal illness within mental health services to improve access for women to appropriate specialist interventions from specially trained staff.

It is possible to predict some high-risk pregnancies and to improve the outcome for the woman and baby with careful planning of the care they receive.

Early detection of symptoms of mental illness, a clear understanding of risks, their implications and subsequent effective management is improved with specialist input and intervention – that’s what this new service will do.”

Said Claire Lowe, perinatal mental health team leader.

The team will consist of five senior perinatal practitioners, two part time psychologists, an occupational therapist, two wellbeing practitioners, two consultant psychiatrists, a full-time peer support worker post, an administrator and a team leader.

The service will be organised in a hub and spoke model, with the Dewsbury hub taking new referrals and practitioners working alongside mental health colleagues in each of the Trust’s localities.

The service will be able to offer a range of different interventions depending on need and current involvement with our services.

  • It will work with women who already receive input from teams within the Trust, offering specialist perinatal support around care planning, contingency planning, medication, mother-infant interactions and coordinating the wider multi-agency team such as health visitors.
  • Staff will assess and care coordinate people newly referred to secondary care services, either during pregnancy or up to the baby being one year old, referring them on to more appropriate teams if necessary.
  • The consultant psychiatrist will provide pre-conceptual advice to women who have had a previous perinatal illness.
  • The team will also provide perinatal mental health training to colleagues and teams, primary care services and third sector organisations.

You can be referred to the service by your GP, midwife, health visitor or another healthcare professional through our single point of access.

This new service comes seven years after the Independent Investigation into the death of Joanne (Joe) Bingley found 21 major failings in Perinatal Mental Health Care that lead to her death.

At last the services that were recommended by the Indpendent Investigation in 2010 are being implemented across South and West Yorkshire.

On 30th April 2010 Joanne (Joe) Bingley sneaked out of her home where she was being treated by the local mental health crisis team for very severe postnatal depression. She walked along the train track,  laid down in front of a train and died instantly when her body was cut in two.

Joanne, was a nurse at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and had many years of experience caring for others. She left behind her husband Chris and their 10 week old daughter Emily.

Sep 2010 Whilst internal NHS reports by the South and West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust claimed to have done nothing wrong, a damning Independent Investigation found 21 major failings in perinatal mental health care. Eventually in December 2013 the NHS trust admitted in court to claims of negligence against them, accepting responsibility for causing Joanne’s “avoidable death”.

In April 2012 a review by the Care Quality Commission found that at least eight out of 21 recommendations made by the NHS Independent Investigation into Joanne’s death had either not been implemented or failed to meet the Care Quality Commissions Compliance Standards. The failed recommendations included:

  • Improve working relationships with Leeds Mother and Baby Unit to have a seamless pathway in and out of care in the unit
  • Education and training of health professionals working in crisis and community mental health teams
  • Develop specialist perinatal community health resource

In Oct 2014 a report produced for the Maternal Mental Health Alliance by the Centre for Mental Health and London School of Economics highlighted that the majority of NHS trusts across the UK were failing to comply with clinical care standards, this included the South and West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, who had still failed to implement recommendations from 2010.

The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation charity was set-up by Joanne’s husband Chris Bingley who has campaigned relentlessly for improvements in perinatal mental health Care.

In 2015 after taking the campaign to parliament Chris Bingley joined forces with other charities, professionals and people who have suffered with postnatal depression and was part of the All Party Parliamentary Action Group that gained support from MP’s and the government that lead to:

  • Government health policy prioritising perinatal mental health care,
  • £1.5bn additional funds for child and perinatal mental health care
  • a national Clinical Reference Group to oversee improvements in the delivery of services.