The vision for inpatient mother and baby services

Dorset HealthCare is at the forefront of developing excellent mental health services for children and families. We run one of very few mother and baby mental health units in the country, supporting families so that mothers can remain with their baby and close to their families while receiving care for mental health issues before and after a new birth.

The quality of our current service means we have been chosen by NHS England as one of the trusts which will lead the way in further developing this service. A national expansion programme is providing funding to tackle the shortage of specialist inpatient facilities and Dorset families will benefit from this.

We currently run a five-bedded mother and baby unit at our Alumhurst Road site in Westbourne where we provide specialist perinatal mental health support. This focuses on the needs of the mother and the baby, with treatment for women suffering severe mental illness such as depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Affective Disorder and post-partum psychosis in the perinatal period. We can also help women with a history of severe mental illness that are having a baby and may need extra support.

Our current unit is not big enough which means that some women and their babies may be taken out of the area, away from their partners and families, or be transferred to an acute hospital. With funding from NHS England, Dorset HealthCare is aiming to create a purpose-built new perinatal unit which will:

  • Relocate from the Alumhurst Road site to the St Anns Hospital site near Sandbanks in Poole to provideadditional support and expertiseand improve the facilities to provide enhanced levels of care.
  • Be extended from the current five beds to eight to ensure all Dorset women and their babies needing this very specialised care remain close to their support networks.
  • Provide specialist facilities that support women to recover and allow them to stay with their baby
  • Make it easier for fathers to visit and spend time with their family while mother and baby are in the unit.

What will happen at St Anns

The new development will be subject to planning permission and a planning application has been submitted to the Borough of Poole.

We are committed to sensitively managing the development to minimise the impact on the site, our neighbours and the environment. With this is mind we will:

  • Reduce the scale of the building where it is closest to the public road
  • Set the two-storey element as far back as possible
  • Use innovative foundations to protect tree roots
  • Lay out the building to keep the maximum number of mature trees possible
  • Create a visual privacy buffer along the road boundary
  • Use traditional building materials in a contemporary manner

Open days

We will be running two open days at the site (St Anns Hospital) for residents and others to see the plans and speak to staff. These will be happening on:

  • 5 July 2018 – 1-7pm
  • 6 July 2018 – 9am-2pm
Perinatal Mental Health