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For referrers

Services provided by Thumbswood are for women who have a serious mental illness and are in late stages of pregnancy (32 weeks) or have an infant of less than 12 months old. The inpatient services offer assessment and treatment of their mental illness whilst ensuring the developing relationship with the baby.

Referrals can be made directly to Thumbswood MBU 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Referrals must be made on the National Referral Form which can be found at www.nhswebbeds.co.uk.

Nursing staff are available 24 hours a day to discuss potential referrals and give advice about alternative mother and baby units if Thumbswood does not have available beds. This information can also be gathered from the National Mother and Baby Unit database - www.nhswebbeds.co.uk

Admission Criteria

Postpartum Psychosis or previous history of postpartum psychosis.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder, Schizo-affective disorder or other psychoses.

Moderate or severe antenatal/postnatal depression or anxiety disorders including previous severe depressive episode/post natal depression-requiring treatment in hospital/secondary care.

Prophylactic admissions for 2 weeks may be considered for those women at high risk of post partum relapse.

Mothers with these conditions under the age of 18 are accepted if there is a significant perinatal mental illness and they are likely to be the infants’ principal carer. Inpatient Mother and Baby Units are suitable for the admission of a young mother but the admission will be managed in collaboration with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Social Services. All mothers aged 16 and 17 years will be under a named CAMHS Team and CAMHS consultant psychiatrist during their stay on Thumbswood. Thumbswood has close working links with CAMHS inpatient services based at Kingsley Green.

Women in the antenatal period over 32 weeks gestation.

Exclusion criteria

For sole purpose of a parenting assessment

Women with severe personality disorder, learning disability or substance misuse unless they are also suffering from, or there is suspected, serious mental illness.

If there is evidence that the mother will not be capable of independent functioning in caring for her infant in the community with reasonable support.

If there is evidence of serious violence/aggressive behaviour that might pose a risk of harm or injury to her own or other babies on MBU.

A mother cannot be admitted without her baby unless she is in the late stage of pregnancy.

A mother cannot be admitted if her baby is too sick to be on a MBU.

The MBU is for the sole use of mothers and their babies and cannot be used for any other admissions.

Considerations for admission

Women who live outside of Hertfordshire may be admitted to Thumbswood if it is their nearest MBU or if there is no availability at their closest MBU.

Funding is required for patients residing in Scotland and Wales.

People who have no registered GP in the United Kingdom are eligible for admission under the Mental Health Act if the request is made from a Place of Safety.

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