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Mersey Care launch expanded perinatal service

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has today launched an extended specialist mental health service to help new and expectant mums in Merseyside.

Working alongside two other trusts, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership and North West Boroughs Healthcare, the service is to be funded by more than £3m from NHS England.

The partnership aims to improve access to evidence-based treatments and invest in training so that women in Cheshire and Merseyside experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year after birth can receive consistent, high quality care.

The new service has expanded considerably to a staff of eight, including a perinatal psychiatrist, a perinatal lead nurse, a team manager, four mental health practitioners and a clinical psychologist.

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Noreen Clarke, the perinatal lead nurse in the expanded team, said: “The specialist perinatal mental health service was provided jointly between Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and clinical commissioners for 10 years with two members of staff.

“We’re delighted to get this investment from NHS England to expand the service which is now provided on a full time basis from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The team will continue to deliver this specialist service to families within Merseyside.”

Women are more likely to suffer from mental health issues during the perinatal period than at any other point in their lives. More than 20% of the 27,000 women giving birth in Cheshire and Merseyside each year experience some sort of mental health issue and these difficulties can have a long-term impact on both mother and child if left untreated. Early intervention from the new specialist service will reduce the risk of local women and their children from experiencing problems in the future.

Nicola Allen, Head of the Medical Directorate for NHS England Cheshire and Merseyside added: “This is good news for Cheshire and Merseyside. A priority is to improve the community services available for new and expectant mums. 

“We believe this new service will put the region ahead of the curve in terms of developing services that prevent women and their children experiencing mental health problems in the future.”

The new service can be contacted by ringing 0151 702 4012 or emailing perinatalmentalhealthteam@merseycare.nhs.uk