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Two years after Bristol mum and baby's death, NHS announces £1.3m for mental health needs

Time:2016-11-26 16:25Shoes websites Click:

Baby 1.3m Bristol years death

The NHS says it will spend £1.3 million to provide more specialist help for expectant and new mums with mental health issues - almost two years to the day after a shocking tragedy which ended two lives in Bristol.

Charlotte Bevan walked out of St Michael's Hospital with her four-day-old daughter Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck on December 2, 2014.

CCTV revealed the 30-year-old had left the hospital wearing only hospital slippers and a dressing gown, cradling Zaani in a blanket.

After a massive police search and appeal, mother and daughter were found dead in the Avon Gorge, having plunged to their deaths from Clifton Down.

An inquest in October last year concluded that a "chain of failures" from the health services involved in Charlotte's care contributed to the pair's death.

Charlotte had suffered from long-term mental health problems but stopped her medication to allow her to breastfeed. She was not assigned a mental health nurse and Coroner Maria Voisin said Charlotte's relapse into psychosis could have been recognised sooner.

Read more: Charlotte Bevan inquest: 'Chain of failures' contributed to deaths of new mum and baby in Bristol

Today the NHS has announced that new and expectant mothers in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will now have access to specialist mental health support, thanks to new funding.

Around 3,000 women a year in the area have concerns about their emotional well-being either during pregnancy or shortly after their baby is born. As many as 400 of those women will experience serious mental health problems.

The £1.3 million will pay to find the new perinatal mental health service for the area for three years, to ensure those women with the most serious mental health needs will get fast access to specialist care.

Run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, the specialist team, which will include a consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and specialist practitioners, will ensure healthcare professionals are better equipped to identify women who have, or are at risk of developing mental health problems.

Doctors hope this will provide women and their families with consistent, reliable information and practical support, as soon as they need it.

Read more: Huge spike in Bristolians suffering from depression, with one in 11 adults diagnosed

Dr Kirsty Alexander, clinical lead for maternity services, said: "As many as 400 women in this area every year will experience serious mental health problems during or after their pregnancy. The impact can be very serious, not just for the woman and her family, but for the long-term emotional health of her baby.

"This new funding means we can expand the highly skilled, specialist care already set up for Bristol – across the whole area. We are delighted to have been chosen by NHS England as one of the first places to receive this funding.

"As the service evolves, we will be able to share our experience and expertise for the benefit of pregnant women and new mums not only in our area, but across the country."

Paul Townsend, managing director for AWP's specialised services, said: "This is a fantastic investment in making mental health support and treatment more accessible to new and expectant mothers and we are delighted to be partners in delivering this service."

The perinatal mental health team will work in partnership with maternity services, adult mental health, GPs, health visitors and other professionals as well as community organisations such as Bluebell Care and Mothers for Mothers.

This wide involvement will also be key to reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues during and after pregnancy.
If women or their families have concerns about mental health during pregnancy they should speak to their midwife, health visitor or GP.

Read more: BBC presenter Will Glennon gives back to the Bristol brain injury unit that gave him back his life


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