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Mother and Baby Unit gains national accreditation

Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s Perinatal Psychiatric Inpatient Unit has been accredited by the Quality Network for Perinatal Mental Health Services. 

The accreditation means that the unit, which is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, has demonstrated that it meets service standards set out by the Quality Network.

The Mother and Baby Unit cares for women with serious mental illness in late pregnancy and the postpartum year.  The service aims to ensure that all women from Nottinghamshire who require admission to a psychiatric unit following delivery are admitted to the Perinatal Psychiatric Unit unless there are specific contra‐indications.

The accreditation process consists of three main phrases;  A self review (by team members, patients and the provision of evidence such as audit and training), a peer review (by representatives from the Quality Network, Royal College of Psychiatrists and professionals from other Mother and Baby Units) and a decision about accreditation and feedback.

The reviews are thorough and require much evidence to validate self ratings and use many information sources and methods of data collection.

Performance is measured against three types of standards:

• Type 1: failure to meet these standards would result in a significant threat to

patient safety, rights or dignity and/or would breach the law.

• Type 2: standards that an accredited ward would be expected to meet.

• Type 3:standards that an excellent ward should meet or standards that are not the direct responsibility of the ward.

The accreditation of the unit means that the team meet all Type 1, the majority of Type 2 and many Type 3 standards. 

Feedback from the official accreditation report stated that it is “clear mothers feel extremely well supported and cared for by staff as well as involved in decisions around their care.” 

It also documented that partners and family members provided positive feedback and were appreciative of the way in which staff communicated with them and the way in which the service benefitted their family. 

The review team noted the professionalism of the staff at the unit and were impressed by the commitment to managing even the most acutely unwell women.

The benefits to the unit from medical input provided by a consultant very much embedded within the service were highlighted and the strength of the community team working alongside the service was applauded.

Judy Gardiner, Ward Manager said:  “We are delighted with the accreditation which is a recognition of the hard work and commitment from the team.  The amount of preparation required for this process was labour intensive for the ward staff in relation to providing evidence of the service standards, but a worthwhile exercise validating our self ratings and compiling comprehensive reports.”

The accreditation status is valid for three years on the condition that the unit continues to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the standards.

The unit provides physical and psychological care and admits on average 40 - 50 mothers and their infants per year.  The philosophy of the unit is to provide rapid and effective care for the maternal mental illness whilst promoting the mother/infant relationship and safeguarding the infant.

The unit will be officially named as The Margaret Oates Mother and Baby Unit Nottingham on 22 July 2011.