04 July 2016

Happy birthday to Mother and Baby Centre

baloonManager Julie Mitchard tells the story of the centre, which opened 10 years ago today.

On the 4 July 2006, our New Horizon Mother and Baby centre opened at Southmead Hospital 10, having moved from the old Barrow Hospital.

By the time staff moved into our beautiful new building and garden, there was a great sense of relief, as they had been nomads for 5 weeks with no base and caring for mums and babies at home was a massive challenge in some cases.

There have been many advantages for service users being cared for at Southmead close to maternity services and public transport links enabling easy access to community resources, parks, shops, and swimming pool and local mum and baby activities.

There have been a lot of changes over 10 years says Julie Mitchard Centre Manager, "In the beginning we cared for women from Avon both as inpatients and day patients and we admitted mums with babies up to two years of age.

"We are now commissioned by NHS England who decide what the service criteria are. We now admit women in late stages of pregnancy, both for treatment and to monitor and prevent deterioration of their mental state. The upper age that babies can come into hospital with their mum is now under 1 year, if this is in the best interest of their baby.

"Service users come from across the South West of England and further afield. We're now looking at ways of expanding up to eight beds and to meet the needs of women who have mental illness in the period leading up to their baby's birth.

"I would like to thank all the staff and other agencies, carers and service users who have supported the team over the past 10 years."

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