Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has welcomed a 30-strong team of clinical and support staff to run a new service which will provide vital care and treatment for mothers with severe mental health conditions.
The Trust has recruited mental health nurses, assistant practitioners, therapists, support workers, a social worker and nursery nurses to the new Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit (MBU), which is being developed at Hellesdon Hospital, in Norwich.
NSFT will now aim to recruit the remaining staff, which will include a clinical psychologist, parent / infant specialist and peer support workers, before the unit opens its doors in late January, filling around 34 whole time equivalent positions.
The team 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 behaviour.
Initially, they will work within the community as the Trust’s Perinatal Outreach Team, but will transfer to the eight-bedded MBU once construction work is complete.
Susan Stolworthy, NSFT’s Operational Manager for Perinatal Services (Norfolk and Waveney), said: “We are delighted that we have been able to recruit so successfully to these roles. We received a good response to our job adverts, which shows the huge level of interest there is in this vital new service and people’s enthusiasm for becoming part of it.
“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.”
Once complete, the 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 Trust was awarded £4m in national funding in autumn 2017 to develop the specialist inpatient unit. 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 MBU service.
Case study – Faye Newman – “There’s so much passion and drive to make this work”
One of NSFT’s first Nursery Nurses has spoken of her excitement at the prospect of delivering a vital new service which will support mums to overcome serious mental health problems and build strong bonds with their babies.
Faye Newman joined the Trust in February, and has been working as part of the Perinatal Outreach Team, which offers care within the community to mothers with conditions such as severe postnatal depression and postpartum psychosis. She will transfer to NSFT’s new eight-bedded Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit when it opens at the end of January.
“This is a really exciting opportunity and I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” said Faye. “We have been involved in developing the unit itself by helping choose furniture, colour schemes and soft furnishings, and are now working on the processes and protocols which will be in place when we welcome our first patients.
“It’s nice to able to help shape something which is brand new. Everyone has been really enthusiastic – the team all really want to be here and there is so much passion and drive to make it work.”
Faye began her career working in a nursery before moving to Thorpe Hamlet Children’s Centre, in Norwich, around four years ago. There, she ran a variety of family group sessions while also offering one-to-one support to help parents to bond with their babies, come up with ideas for play and develop a routine.
Since joining NSFT, she has been providing intensive support to mums in the community to limit the impact their mental health condition has on their baby. Once the MBU opens, Faye and her nursery nurse colleagues will be on hand 24/7 to offer interventions such as baby massage and support for bonding and brain growth, as well as practical help with caring for the babies wherever necessary.
“I’ve always been interested in mental health, and have worked with women who have been struggling with a variety of issues in the past,” added Faye. “I thought this was a really exciting opportunity which would give me the chance to be part of something completely new while also shaping my own practice.
“Our role is to limit the impact which the mother’s condition has on their ability to bond with and care for their baby. We want them to be able to get the treatment they need so that the relationship they have with their baby can flourish.
“The feedback we’ve had so far has been really quite overwhelming. To have someone there advocating for the baby throughout has made a huge difference.
“Our involvement will only increase when the MBU opens – our role will change from being less advisory to taking over the care of the baby if necessary as well as providing other interventions to help them to develop and bond.”
Case study – Issie Raney – “It’s interesting and worthwhile and will make a real difference to people”
A Nursery Nurse has shared her desire to make a real difference to mothers with serious mental health problems and their new babies when NSFT’s Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) opens early next year.
Issie Raney joined the Trust in February after spending three years at the East City and Framingham Earl Area Children's Centre in Norwich. She is currently working in the Perinatal Outreach Team, but will move across to the MBU when it opens at the end of January.
Issie brings with her some experience of mental health after previously taking part in a project looking at emerging mental health in children and early intervention. She has also supported families with a variety of difficulties, as well as running ante-natal classes and helping inform parents of the services available to help following the birth of their babies.
“I was attracted to the MBU role as I felt like it was really interesting and worthwhile, and something which would make a real difference to people,” said Issie. “It’s also nice to be part of something from the beginning as you feel as if you are helping to build it for the future.
“We are there to support the mum to get better while maintaining their attachment with their baby. As part of the outreach team, we have been working with mums who are at risk of going into an MBU elsewhere in the country or have just been discharged. Our role has been to find out about the type of support they have been receiving during their admission so that we can offer continuity when they return home.
“I’ve also been helping mums to understand what their babies are trying to say. They don’t come with manuals, so picking up on their cues is important but can also be quite difficult for people, especially if they are already unwell.
“It has been a steep learning curve as I haven’t worked in a mental health setting before, but I have found it incredibly interesting. We’ve also been really well received by the parents we’ve worked with and have had some great feedback.
“The fact we are here will hopefully take some of the pressure off the other mental health professionals in the team as we can focus purely on the baby. We will also use outcome measures to show the mums just how far they have come, as it can sometimes be difficult for people to appreciate the progress they have made.
“I can’t wait to get into the building. We’ve seen it a few times and are lucky to have such a great space which will be well resourced by a really good multidisciplinary team who will provide a full package of care for mums and their babies.
“We are proud that we will be able to provide a service which mums would have either had to travel significant distances to access before, or be separated from their baby, neither of which is ideal for their recovery.”
Case study – Dr Iain Tweedlie – “We’re all really looking forward to getting started”
A former GP with a long-standing interest in mental healthcare has spoken of his excitement at taking on a brand new role and providing vital support to new mums when NSFT’s Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) opens early next year.
Dr Iain Tweedlie has been appointed as Psychiatry Specialist Doctor, and will take responsibility for the mental health and emotional wellbeing of women receiving care at the Kingfisher MBU, as well as helping them to bond with their newborns.
He has moved to his new role from Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, where he spent three years as a Specialty Doctor supporting people with common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and low mood.
“I was really pleased when I heard about the MBU role as it fitted perfectly with my clinical interests and background,” said Dr Tweedlie, who developed an interest in mental health while working as a GP in Scotland, Australia and Essex. “There is so much physical health to look after with new mums and their babies – this seemed like the ideal opportunity to give mental health the same attention.
“I had also recently become a Dad myself which made me re-evaluate my work, so the timing was absolutely perfect.
“The role won’t just involve working with the mother, but will also be about her relationship with her baby. It’s vital for us to get that bond right as hopefully that will mean the infant will grow up relating to the world in a positive way, in turn preventing a lot of potential attachment issues in the longer term.
“We have now completed our induction and there is lots of training taking place. We’re all really looking forward to getting started and getting our teeth into delivering this new service, which will offer specialist care closer to home to mothers from across the region.”
Case study – Jenny Ormsby – Modern Matron returns to her roots
A Modern Matron who trained with NSFT has spoken of the importance of creating a strong bond between mothers and their new babies as she prepares to return to the Trust as Modern Matron at its Mother and Baby Unit (MBU).
Jenny Ormsby completed her degree in mental health nursing at the University of East Anglia around 12 years ago, spending much of her time at the School of Nursing, which was then based at Hellesdon Hospital.
She went onto work at both the Norvic Clinic in Norwich and Great Yarmouth Acute Services at Northgate Hospital before moving to West London Mental Health Trust, initially as a Community Psychiatric Nurse.
After holding a series of senior nursing posts and taking responsibility for various improvement projects, Jenny is now preparing to return to her roots after being appointed Modern Matron at the Kingfisher MBU.
“I’m looking forward to the role,” said Jenny, who was brought up in Lowestoft. “We will be treating a maximum of eight women at any one time, so will really be able to commit to providing evidence-based treatment, reducing risk and focusing on the relationship between the mother and baby.
“We will also concentrate on reducing the impact which mum’s mental health has on the child, potentially setting them up for a healthier, happier life in the long-term.
“It’s an exciting job and we are all looking forward to getting started, but also need to be realistic and recognise that it will bring its own challenges. We won’t get everything right on the first day, but will continue to learn all the time, whilst receiving input from carers and families.”
A qualified Prince Practitioner, Jenny took responsibility for a variety of projects in London, including the roll out of remote working, setting up a one-stop-shop for dementia care and contributing to creating a single point of access for the Trust. Last year, she also qualified as an Improvement Advisor with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and hopes the experience she has built up since will bring benefits in her new role.
“One of the things which attracted me to the job was the fact the Trust is about to embark on its own quality improvement journey,” added Jenny. “This will give frontline staff and teams the chance to share their ideas so that we can make sustainable changes in a controlled way for the benefit of service users and carers.
“I hope to use the knowledge and expertise I have built up in my previous roles to help make the unit a success, so that it becomes the place of choice for families when they need support for serious mental health conditions.”
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