Wishart highlights consultation on future of perinatal mental health care

Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart is highlighting a Scottish Government consultation on future options to increase capacity of Mother and Baby Units (MBU).

MBUs are specialist inpatient facilities for people requiring hospital care due to perinatal mental health conditions. There are only two MBUs in Scotland, both in the central belt, meaning that any new mothers north of Livingston requiring such care need to travel south.

Following at 2019 report which recommended there should be four additional mother and baby unit beds in Scotland, the Scottish Government have opened a public consultation on options to increase capacity. The deadline for contributions is 31st May 2022. The Scottish Government is also holding online engagement events and are particularly keen to hear from women in remote, rural and island areas.

The Everyone’s Business Campaign calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it. They state that 1 in 5 women develop a mental health condition during pregnancy or within early years after having a baby.

Commenting, Ms Wishart said:

“Last week I pressed the Scottish Government over what action it will take to provide local support to new mothers who require specialist mental health care, raising the ‘postcode lottery’ of specialist care.

“I welcome the Minister’s commitment to strengthen community perinatal mental health services. But this must go hand in hand with ensuring that for women who need them, specialist inpatient services are within a distance that enables family visits, with financial support in place to cover these costs.

“I encourage everyone with an interest to complete the Scottish Government’s consultation on increasing capacity of MBUs. It is important that views from rural and island areas are heard and taken into account when decisions on where to locate the new MBU beds are made.”


Notes to editors:

Ms Wishart’s exchange with the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care can be viewed here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/meeting-of-the-parliament-may-10-2022?clip_start=14:20:20&clip_end=14:25:23

The Scottish Government’s Consultation on Options to increase Mother and Baby Unit capacity can be found here: https://consult.gov.scot/mental-health-unit/mother-and-baby-unit/

The Scottish Government’s online engagement events can be found here: Mother and Baby Unit Capacity Consultation Engagement Event Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

The Everyone’s Business Campaign can be found here: The Everyone’s Business campaign | Maternal Mental Health Alliance


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