New mothers must travel up to 390 miles to access maternal mental health support

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today pressed the Scottish Government over what action it will take to provide local support to new mothers who require a specialist mental health bed with their baby, following recent reports that many are having to travel hundreds of miles in order to receive the treatment they need.

Speaking in the chamber Ms Wishart said:

"There are no dedicated inpatient mental health beds for new mothers north of Livingston. Shetland and Livingston have a contractual agreement for perinatal mental health services and my constituents are expected to take a 390 mile trip by air or sea with their new born.

"Does the minister agree with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland that there is a “postcode lottery” facing new mothers when it comes to perinatal services?"

Pressing the minister, she added: 

"The P&J have also been campaigning to raise this issue of perinatal mental health services, one report highlighting the difficulty faced by partners travelling to support their loved one and to see their new born baby. It is easy to see how costs can rack up for families as grandparents and other children make visits. Each family is different and healthcare provision should strive for equitable support where there are big distances for travel involved. The maximum claim back cost for the Family Fund is £500. That would be one air fare from Shetland and that money should cover travel, subsistence and accommodation. 

"Will the Scottish Government look to increase the financial provision provided to families engaged in perinatal mental health services, especially those who live further from services?"

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