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Mental health care for new mothers in Wales 'unacceptable'

From BBC - October 17, 2017

Calls have been made for a specialist mother and baby unit to open in Wales to help those suffering mental illness.

The lack of in-patient care for women suffering from severe perinatal mental health illnesses has been described as unacceptable by a committee of AMs.

The Children and Young People's committee of the assembly supported calls for the re-opening of a specialist mother and baby unit (MBU).

Wales' own unit was closed in 2013 with mothers sent to units in England.

The Welsh Government said it was committed to providing specialist inpatient care.

The committee's report recommended that a MBU be established in south Wales to provide an all-Wales service.

Given this may not be suitable for mothers and families in mid and north Wales, the committee also called for the Welsh Government to discuss with NHS England setting up a cross-border service in north east Wales.

Medical guidelines state women who need inpatient care for mental health should normally be admitted to a MBU.

Beds are sought in units in England but officials told AMs the process was fraught with difficulties.

About 60-80 women a year are also treated in adult psychiatric wards, the report said, but AMs heard the wards were "not suitable" to treat perinatal mothers given it requires the separation of mother and baby.

"We believe that the provision of inpatient care to mothers with severe cases of perinatal mental illness is wholly inadequate," the report said.

"While we accept that the most specialist of services will sometimes require patients to travel, the current uncertainty of arrangements with England is unacceptable," the report said.

'Developing options'

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