Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has
this week launched a campaign to recruit staff to run a new service providing
vital support for mothers with severe mental health conditions.
NSFT will be holding two open evening awareness sessions to invite people who
might be interested in working in the service to find out more about the
available roles on Saturday, 9 June 2018, 10am-12pm, and Tuesday, 12 June 2018,
6-8pm, at the Main Hall, at Hellesdon Hospital.
The Trust is aiming to attract a perinatal psychiatrist, a specialty doctor,
ward manager, clinical support worker, assistant practitioners, specialist
mental health nurses, nursery nurses, occupational therapist, social worker,
outreach worker and a clinical psychologist to fill a total of around 34 whole
time equivalent positions.
They will offer intensive support to new mothers with mental health conditions
such as severe postnatal depression, serious anxiety disorders and postpartum
psychosis, which causes hallucinations and can severely disrupt perception and
Initially the team will work within the community, but will transfer to the
Trust’s new Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) once construction work is complete in
Rob Mack, Locality Manager with NSFT’s Children’s, Families and Young People’s
Services, said: “We are delighted that we are now in a position to be
recruiting more staff to this important team as it will allow us to start
delivering this vital service to vulnerable women within the community while
work to create our dedicated MBU takes place.
“The team will provide potentially life-changing care to new mothers with
serious mental health problems, and will mean they can receive the psychiatric
support they need without having to travel elsewhere.”
The Trust was awarded £4m in national funding in autumn 2017 to develop the
specialist inpatient unit, and work to renovate Kingfisher House, at Hellesdon
Hospital in Norwich, now well underway.
Once complete, the eight-bed MBU will ensure mums and their babies from across
the region can stay together while the mother receives care. It will also
accept women in late pregnancy who require acute psychiatric inpatient care.
A range of therapeutic services will be available including medication,
cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, along with help with bonding and
attachment. Trained peer support workers – people who have personal experience
of perinatal mental ill health – will also offer support and practical help.
The bid for additional capital funding was led by NSFT, in partnership with
Norfolk and Waveney’s five clinical commissioning groups and working in
collaboration with Norfolk and Waveney STP. It came in addition to the £2.8m in
additional revenue funding which NSFT will receive annually to deliver the new
The new unit will complement NSFT’s Norfolk and Waveney Community Perinatal
Mental Health Service, which launched in September, and which cares for
pregnant women and new mothers with serious mental health difficulties in the
community, as well as providing support for the rest of the family.
As well as the NSFT East and West Suffolk Perinatal Mental Health Clinic, which
launched in February 2018, and which offers specific help to pregnant women
with pre-existing conditions as well as those who develop mental health issues
following their child’s birth.
Applications for the jobs available at the unit can be submitted from June 4 to
17, 2018 online at www.jobs.nsft.nhs.uk
and via Twitter. For more information, visit www.nsft.uk/MBU
Case Study 1: Mandy
Kirby (pictured left)
“What I enjoy the most about my job is the direct patient contact”
The Trust’s Community Perinatal Mental Health Service was officially launched
last September but Mandy Kirby has worked as a community perinatal mental health
nurse, covering the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area, for the past four years.
“I got into nursing late, qualifying at the age of 37 after my children had
started school, but it was always something that I’d wanted to do. However,
when I was young I lived in a very rural area and there was no public transport
into Norwich, meaning I couldn’t attend a nursing course, so I did other
things, such as qualifying as a hair-dresser.
“As a result of something that I experienced personally after the birth of my first
child, I developed an interest in perinatal mental health nursing.
“I’ve spent my entire 10-year nursing career working for NSFT and have had a
number of different roles, including working in a psychiatric intensive care
unit and at Blundeston Prison, but my real passion is for perinatal mental
“This developed through my time working with The Parent Infant Mental Health
Attachment Project [PIMHAP] and working closely alongside Dr Somayya Kajee, a
consultant psychiatrist who also had a specialist interest in perinatal mental
“Due to our passion and commitment and with support from the Trust, we were
able to work with pregnant women in the Yarmouth and Waveney area until a
specialist team was developed.
“I work with and support mothers throughout their pregnancy and up to the point
when their child is one-year-old. These women can have conditions such as
schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, OCD and other mental
“Having a Community Perinatal Mental Health Service in Norfolk and Waveney
means we’re able to provide the very specialist care which these women need to
go on and enjoy a healthy, happy life with their new baby.
“The service was developed in partnership with partners across the NHS, including
the maternity services at Norfolk’s three acute hospitals, Cambridgeshire
Community Trust which provides health visiting services and nursery nurses,
service users and the support group Get Me Out The Four Walls.
“My greatest strength is engaging with people who are difficult to engage with
and building up a relationship with them. What I enjoy the most about my job is
the direct patient contact. However, I’m keen to develop my skills and have
been training to become a non-medical prescriber.
“I’m also involved in training colleagues who work in our recovery and crisis
teams, and enjoy the multi-agency aspect of my role. I work closely with the
Eden Team of specialist midwives from the James Paget Hospital, lecture to
student midwives at the UEA and liaise closely with health visitors.”
Case Study 2: Sarah
Hales (pictured right)
“I’ve never gained so much knowledge and learnt so many new skills in such a
short space of time”
Sarah Hales has spent the past 10 months of her 23-year Trust nursing career as
a Mental Health Practitioner working for the Community Perinatal Mental Health
Service, in West Norfolk.
“I’m really looking forward to early 2019 because that’s when an eight-bed
Mother and Baby Unit opens at Hellesdon Hospital for new mothers with serious
mental health problems.
“The most frustrating part of my job right now is when a woman needs to be
admitted and I have to tell them and their families that the nearest MBU is in
Chelmsford. There have even been times when the nearest available bed has been
further afield, such as in Birmingham, which means that some women choose not
to be admitted.
“Our unit will be one of just four across the country commissioned by NHS
England and will ensure mums and their babies can stay together while the
mother receives care. It will also accept women in late pregnancy who need
acute psychiatric inpatient care.
“I was attracted to mental health nursing because I found the mental health
element of my ‘A’ level psychology interesting and my own family had experience
of mental illness.
“After training in Leeds and qualifying as a mental health nurse in 1995, I’ve
done many different roles at the Trust. What made me join the Community
Perinatal Mental Health Service last July was the prospect of a new experience
and working with a completely different client group. I’ve never gained so much
knowledge and learnt so many new skills in such a short space of time.
“I enjoy going into the homes of the women and building a relationship with
them and also working with different professions, such as the midwives at the
Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and the Norfolk and Norwich University
“When I worked for the Mental Health Liaison Service that NSFT provides at
NNUH, I came to learn that there is great scope for a better understanding of
mental health among staff employed by acute hospitals.
“An important part of my role is educating and training other people, including
mental health colleagues like those in the crisis teams who may potentially
come into contact with the same women who I am supporting.”
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