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Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit recognised by Unicef

Posted on - 3rd August, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News, Proud Preston, South Ribble News
Ribblemere Unit at Chorley Hosital NHS Lancashire Teaching
Ribblemere Unit at Chorley Hosital NHS Lancashire Teaching Hospital

A specialist unit that keeps babies with their mothers who are suffering with serious mental health issues in the postpartum period has been accredited Gold by UNICEF.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust’s (LSCft) Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) based at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, is the only such unit in the UK to be awarded Gold in UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI).

The Gold accreditation was awarded in collaboration with Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service (LHYP&FS).

UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative enables public services to better support families with feeding and developing close and loving relationships so that all babies get the best possible start in life.

By working together with HCRG Care Group’s LHYP&S, LSCft are tackling health inequalities and advocating for babies and families when mothers suffer with mental health issues in the perinatal period.

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Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit is an eight bed, inpatient facility for mothers with serious mental health problems or who may be at high risk of becoming mentally unwell in the perinatal period, including very serious conditions such as post-partum psychosis.

The Mother and Baby Unit enables treatment and recovery for mothers while allowing their relationships with their babies to develop. 

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UNICEF assessors highlighted that the Ribblemere team, which is staffed by a multidisciplinary team, inform and help improve understanding so that mum’s decisions about how they feed their babies is not undermined by misinformation or misunderstanding about medication and breast milk.

The team share this learning across the mental health system so that mums get consistent information and advice to make fully informed choices about treatment for mental health problems in the perinatal period. 

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Guided by a Baby Friendly Initiative Lead, Francine Goodier, the team are all BFI educated and able to provide the encouragement to fully support each mum’s feeding and care choices, which play a significant part in their recovery. They make it a priority to sustain or re-establishing breastfeeding in line with the mother’s wishes.

All medications are carefully considered and the effect they may have on a mother’s choices as part of treatment and individual bespoke care plans.

Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist Gill Strachan and Clinical lead for the North West Coast perinatal mental health network said: “It’s wonderful to once again be recognised in this way by UNICEF for the person centred care we deliver to our mothers and babies.

“Our Gold standard care at Ribblemere means babies whose mothers are severely mentally unwell get the same high standards of care as every baby born into and cared for by a baby friendly accredited service across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our multidisciplinary team across psychiatry, nursing and nursery nurse care and we’re very proud that we continue to advocate for mothers, babies and families here at LSCft.”


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