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Perinatal team receives national accreditation

Posted: 01/12/20

The Perinatal Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) has received national accreditation, thanks to work spanning over two years.

Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, the team have been recognised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists Perinatal Quality Network (PQN).

The PQN was started in 2007 to develop and maintain standards for mother and baby units. Five years later, the network expanded to include standards for community perinatal mental health services, part of its commitment to promote perinatal mental health. CNTW’s Perinatal CMHT have been involved with the PQN since its inception.

Accreditation required evidence across 274 standards in a range of areas including access and referral, assessment, discharge, care and treatment, staffing and training. These are designed in line with NICE guidance as well as specialist knowledge from perinatal faculty members.

Team Manager Jan Rigby said: “We are a small multi-disciplinary team covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and were able to expand following investment from NHS England. We are made up of medical staff, a psychologist, CPNs, an occupational therapist, peer supporters and nursery nurses, who support the development of the baby’s attachment with their mother.

“We achieved this accreditation thanks to our hard work and dedication and I couldn’t be more proud of the team. Having a mum who is mentally unwell can increase the risk of the child experiencing a range of problems growing up and into adulthood so the work we do is vitally important. The focus of our work promotes the care and treatment of each mother and where required supports their developing relationship with their baby.”

The accreditation, which lasts for three years, saw the team work together using feedback to transform the service. For example after women using the service found their recovery improved by speaking to others in their situation, a ‘Finding Your Rhythm’ baby group and a ‘Finding Your Feet’ walking group have been set up.

Clinical Manager Laura Whitaker added: “In addition to the recognition of the team’s hard work in this achievement, the members of the Neuro and Specialist Clinical Business Unit would like to give our appreciation and recognition to Jan Rigby who led the team through the accreditation process. Jan’s excellent leadership and support of the team has been pivotal in this achievement. Thank you from all of us.”

The team provides a community service to support women experiencing mental health difficulties related to childbirth, pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. They support those who are either pregnant or one year postnatal and who have been suffering from depression and/ or anxiety or other significant mental health difficulties as a direct result of their current or previous pregnancy or pregnancy loss.