Maternal mental health services

Maternal mental health services

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1 July 2022

Developing maternal mental health services for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Partners of Together We’re Better are developing a new service to help local families that have suffered through birth trauma, loss, and/or tokophobia (a severe fear of pregnancy, which can develop with or without previous experience of pregnancy).

It is a national ambition that maternal mental health services will be available across the UK by 2023/24.

Recently, we heard from local people about their experiences and listened to their views on how this service should look in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

We heard from people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, who were aged 18+ and who considered themselves to have experienced birth trauma, loss, and/or tokophobia within the last five years.

We held a survey, which closed on 5 December 2021.

The results from this survey will now be analysed by the maternity transformation programme, and the two NHS trusts who will run the service (North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust and Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust). The feedback received will be used to help develop the new service for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Temporary changes to maternity services

As you will be aware, the current demand for NHS services has risen exponentially and locally, we are working hard across the health and care system to meet the needs of local people as quickly and as safely as possible.

Whilst the number of patients we are caring for with COVID-19 is thankfully not at the levels experienced at the height of the pandemic, local hospitals are facing unprecedented workforce challenges due to COVID-19 infection and isolation. Our priority is to ensure that we deliver safe services. This has meant that our local hospitals have had to take the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend home birthing services.

Home birth services at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB) have been suspended temporarily and you can find out more about this on the UHDB website.

Share your experience of maternity services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Together We’re Better, the local health and care partnership, is seeking to improve midwifery services in these areas by offering more personalised care around the needs of pregnant people and their families.

Our clinicians and staff are working to develop proposals to support an on-demand model – this includes exploring how we can restore births at County and Samuel Johnson, which were temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

There is more work for us to do behind the scenes before we can confirm this model will happen. We will need to listen to our staff as we look to develop a continuity of carer rota. We will also need to train and recruit new midwives to support this community model.

Listening to your views

We also want to listen to the views of people who use, work in or support maternity services to inform our proposals.

July and August 2021 events

We held virtual events on Friday 16 July and Thursday 12 August to get feedback from people. At these events, we heard from people who have given birth in the last three years, are currently pregnant or are thinking of starting or expanding their family in the next few years. Partners and anyone working in maternity services were also encouraged to attend and share their views and experiences.

If you were unable to attend these events, we also had a survey, where service users and staff could tell us about their experiences. The survey closed at midnight on 15 August 2021 and could be accessed online, by telephone or in paper format.

The feedback from the events and this survey will help to inform and shape future maternity services. We will aim to keep you informed and involved as we develop our proposals. The feedback from these events and the survey will be considered by the hospital trusts and the Clinical Commissioning Groups and will be published on our website.

For more information about this work and about our future ways of working, you can read our Issues Paper. You can also view our easy read version available here .

You can also watch our short video to listen to our midwives talking about potential future ways of working for maternity services.

Potential future ways of working for maternity services

Don’t have time for the full video? Watch our short videos, below:

There are plenty more ways you can get involved with our maternity transformation programme, such as becoming a maternity champion. Find out more about this and other ways of participating, by visiting Get Involved.