A YORK mum who was sent 100 miles from home when she developed severe postnatal depression is urging health bosses to include a mother and baby unit in their plans for a new mental health hospital.
Sinead Willis, 43, from Acomb, developed debilitating postnatal depression three months after the birth of her second child.
But as the mother and baby unit in York, which was based at Bootham Park Hospital until 2010 when it closed, and the five-bed unit in Leeds was full, the nearest available bed was in Morpeth some 100 miles away.
She has since made a full recovery but said the distance from her husband and daughter was very difficult to cope with.
Sinead, who said she has heard from other mothers who have been sent out of area to Morpeth as the Leeds unit is often full, is campaigning for the new mental health hospital, due to open as a replacement for Bootham Park Hospital in 2019, to include a mother and baby unit.
She said: "Being sent away from your home adds to the recovery time and makes an already stressful situation much more difficult. You are away from the exact people you need to be with.
"One of the NHS principles is the patient comes first and that's just not happening in York. I do feel mothers are let down in York and someone needs to ask for the investment.
"York is a big enough area to have its own mother and baby unit. Mothers are already going through enough having to cope with this terrible illness without having to travel far away for treatment, being separated from their families and other children who also need their mother."
Ten to 15 per cent of new mothers develop a depression known as postnatal depression (PND).
A petition appealing to NHS England to provide adequate facilities in York has gathered 1300 signatures and includes emotive comments from women who have been in similar situations.
Sinead said she gave the information to Colin Martin, the deputy chief executive of the Tees, Esk & Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV), which runs mental health services in York.
However, the matter of who is responsible for setting up a mother and baby unit is complicated as it is not something TEWV is contracted to cover or something Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group would fund, but a national funding matter for NHS England.
NHS England said it was not able to provide a response in time to run with this article however The Press will run a follow up with its response should any more information be provided.
To see Sinead's petition, visit https://t.co/peS8Wd5aOP