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King's Lynn hospital specialist midwives involved as new maternal health service set for Norfolk

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A new maternal mental health service is set to launch to care for women who have experienced traumatic births or bereavement in West Norfolk.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has been awarded £800,000 in national funding for the service which will involve work alongside specialist midwives at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn to provide trauma-focused therapy.

There will also be attachment therapy for those who have had children removed.

Specialist midwives from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn will provide trauma-focused therapy through the new NSFT service
Specialist midwives from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn will provide trauma-focused therapy through the new NSFT service

The money will be used over the next two years to launch and test the pilot service, which will be evaluated alongside other trials taking place nationally.

Maternal mental health service are expected to be introduced across the country from 2023/4 and each will care for between 150 and 250 women a year.

Amanda Price-Davey, head of midwifery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “We are delighted to be part of the development of this new service that supports the needs of pregnant people at their most vulnerable time.

"We have identified a gap in current services and this new funding will ensure that all those who have mental health challenges receive the support they need at this significant time in their lives.”

The service will support women who have expererienced birth trauma or who have tokophobia, a significant fear of childbirth.

Resources will be produced to support women with tokophobia to ensure consistency of care, while the team will also work closely with other local psychological services.

Those who have experienced bereavement, such as repeated miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death will also be supported.

Melanie White, consultant clinical psychologist with NSFT, said: “We are delighted that Norfolk and Waveney has been chosen as one of the sites which will develop and test a maternal mental health service before they are rolled out nationally as part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan.

“The service will bring together maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy, and will see NSFT clinicians work closely with midwifery colleagues from our three acute hospitals to ensure women receive psychological interventions at the right time and a seamless service from the NHS.

“We have been working with women who have experienced birth trauma or loss as we have been developing the service, and will continue to liaise with them over the coming months as we gear up to launch in April."

It comes as Lynn's hospital has announced a new Maternity Bereavement Suite is expected to be completed by April to provide a safe and protective space for families who have sadly lost a baby in our community.

Donations continue to be collected for furnishings for the suite with items on the hospital's wishlist including a sofa bed, storage ottoman, a television, and kitchen facilities such as a fridge and microwave.

You can send cheques payable to ‘Maternity Bereavement Suite’ or give online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/QEHMaternityBereavementSuite

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