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About Us

Our particular strength lies in channelling expert clinical advice and peer support to solve problems and build momentum for positive change.

What we do

Our particular strength lies in channelling expert clinical advice and peer support to solve problems and build momentum for positive change.

We facilitate change in the following ways:

  • Bring together diverse range of stakeholders
  • Provide a source of support
  • Provide clinical leadership and advice
  • Provide a forum for communication and dialogue
  • Facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge
  • Encourage a learning culture.

What is the Maternity Clinical Network?

Purpose of the Maternity Network:

  • To share information, best practice and learning, to benchmark against each other and drive improvement in the quality of services across the region
  • To ensure that specialist services are available to women and babies with more complex needs and ensure that they receive consistently high-quality treatment in centres with the right facilities and expertise, as close to their homes as possible.

Responsibilities of Maternity Clinical Network

The Maternity Network supports the North East and North Cumbria Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) to deliver the Maternity Transformation Programme.

The particular strength of the Clinical Networks lies in channelling expert clinical advice and peer support to solve problems and build momentum for positive change.

In this the North East and North Cumbria Clinical Networks:

  • Ensure independent clinical advice is provided across systems through an honest broker approach, acting as a critical friend and providing constructive challenge
  • Champion the service user voice and coproduction as a key tool for local transformation
  • Work with LMSs to reduce unwarranted variation in clinical quality, in line with the Long-Term Plan
  • Work collaboratively with the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme (MatNeoSiP) to provide a coordinated and aligned systems approach to improvement
  • Share insights, promote best practice and innovation
  • Advise on the redesign and improvement in pathways and services
  • Encourage a networked approach to service delivery that enables women and their families to access services in the community wherever possible, whilst ensuring access to more specialist care when needed
  • Foster the regional maternity safety movement
  • Work closely with the Neonatal Operational Delivery Networks to progress the outputs of the neonatal critical care review.

Perinatal Mental Health Network

The Northern England Perinatal Mental Health Network was established in 2015 and works closely alongside the Maternity Clinical Network and Mental Health Network. The network has a dedicated Clinical Lead and a Network Delivery Lead along with administrative support.

Perinatal Mental Health Networks play an important role in supporting strategic planning and local delivery.

Networks perform a range of functions, including providing specialist advice to:

  • Commissioners to support local decision-making on what a good service should look like
  • Services, including maternity and mental health services (community and inpatient), for example on the development of materials to support preconception advice, including the use of medication
  • Facilitating training, including general awareness, core professional training and specialist training
  • Encourage research and supporting routine outcome monitoring, audit and evaluation of local services.

Key messages:

  • Around one in four women experience mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 24 months after giving birth. Depression and anxiety disorders (such as generalised anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders) are the most frequent, occurring in around 15% of women in the perinatal period.
  • The consequences of not accessing high-quality perinatal mental health care are estimated to cost the UK £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births, 72% due to the longer term associated effects on child well-being. The annual cost to the NHS was estimated at £1.2 billion, whilst the annual extra cost to develop perinatal care pathways was estimated at £280 million (Bauer, Parsonage et al, 2014).
  • Maternal mental illness is a leading cause of maternal death in the weeks and months after birth, with 1 in 8 women who died during pregnancy, or up to baby’s first birthday, died by suicide (Oates, 2003; Oates and Cantwell, 2011; Knight, 2018; Bunch et al, 2019).
  • Serious mental illness requiring admission is much less common, with around two to three women per 1,000 births being admitted to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU).
  • It is imperative that these services continue to be prioritised, with a focus on equity of access, high-quality care available at the right time in the right place.
  • Approximately 30,000 babies are born across the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) each year. Perinatal mental health services not only provide specialist support to mums, birthing parents, and families, but impact on the emotional wellbeing of the infant through robust pathways embedded within maternity and health visiting giving each child the best start in life (1001 Critical Days).
  • The mental wellbeing of women and birthing people, and their families is as important as the physical wellbeing of the women and birthing person and developing baby – everyone has a role to play in this.

The pathway can be found HERE and the directory found HERE

A short video with the title ‘Looking after Mam’ can be viewed HERE

If you would like any more information regarding maternal emotional wellbeing please contact