MS calls for improved mental health services for mothers in the north of Wales
Arfon MS Siân Gwenllian has renewed calls for a Mother and Baby Unit providing mental health care to be opened within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area.
Currently the only unit of its kind in Wales is in the Swansea Bay health board area, and women in the north of Wales suffering from perinatal mental health problems either have to travel there or into England to receive support.
Ms Gwenllian will raise the issue in the Senedd this week when she leads a short debate on the mental health problems associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
“Up to one in five women can develop perinatal mental health issues, 5% of mothers will suffer from a serious mental health problem, and around 2 to 4 per 1000 women who have a baby will need admission to hospital for their mental health problems,” she said.
“The evidence is clear. Nevertheless, the provisions across Wales are inconsistent.
“There remain significant gaps in specialist services in the north and we need an accessible Mother and Baby Unit, building on the experience gained since setting up the unit in the south. It is disappointing and concerning that a clear timeline for this work has not yet been developed.
“Any new provision must take account of the Welsh language needs of mothers and families, and previous talk of opening a Mother and Baby Unit in England, offering places for women from Wales would clearly face problems in catering for the needs of Welsh speaking families. However, mothers and babies from England could be welcomed to a Welsh-based unit within the Betsi area and would not face language barriers.
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to highlight these on-going concerns in the Senedd this week and I will continue to raise these matters until I am satisfied that there are clear plans to develop and extend perinatal mental health services for the women that I represent.”
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