Experts by Experience wanted for East Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative | Latest updates

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Experts by Experience wanted for East Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative

New born baby lying on the chest of their mother

The East Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative is a group of providers working together to design and further develop perinatal mental health services across the East Midlands.

The collaborative was launched on October 1, 2023, and the aim is to ensure high quality care for women and their babies with serious mental illnesses that require admission to a mother and baby unit (MBU). In addition, the collaborative will work to ensure that there is seamless care between MBU and community perinatal mental health teams.

The MBUs – such as The Beeches in Derby and the Margaret Oates Mother and Baby Unit in Nottingham – were previously overseen by NHS England. Now, in line with changes set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, they are being overseen by a group of five NHS trusts and one private healthcare provider from the region, who are working together as the East Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative. All the providers are part of the East Midlands Alliance.

Local staff, patients and those with lived experience are directly involved in the developments and oversight of the services, and wider staff have the opportunity to raise issues and get involved.

Experts by Experience group

People who have personal experience of staying in Derby or Nottingham MBU in the last five years are being encouraged to join the collaborative’s group of Experts by Experience. Partners and (grand)parents are also welcome to join the group. Please download and share a leaflet about the group. Anyone interested in joining the monthly group should email or

Nicky Bunning is an expert by experience who is helping to shape the work of the collaborative.

She described being hospitalised with postpartum psychosis as being a truly life-changing experience.

“I received such incredible care during my stay at Margaret Oates Mother and Baby Unit that, when I left, I knew I wanted to give back,” she said. “When I heard about the opportunity to join the Experts by Experience group for the East Midlands Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative, I was really keen to get involved. Having had no experience of working in the NHS, I didn’t really understand what a ‘provider collaborative’ was, but I knew that I wanted to use my experience to help others.”

She said it was vital that experts by experience are included in the collaborative as they offer a unique perspective, ensuring that patients are at the heart of decision making.

Nicky said: “For me, it has been transformative to join a supportive group of other former patients who have similar experiences, share the same values and have the common goal of ensuring there is high quality, equitable care for patients from all backgrounds.

“Since joining the collaborative, I have engaged in meetings for both the Clinical and Professional Reference Group and the Partnership Board. It is vital that the patient voice is heard at all levels to ensure that the patient journey is considered in every decision.”

Her belief in the value of the Experts by Experience group, a small but dedicated group of mothers who share the same passion for perinatal mental health, shines through.

“Organising a group of Experts by Experience within the field of Perinatal Mental Health is not without its challenges; we are mothers recovering from both childbirth and severe mental illness, whilst juggling caring for babies with our other commitments. Nevertheless, this dedicated group is committed to using their experience to help others,” she said.

And she added: “My vision for the future of the role of Experts by Experience is for us to be truly embedded within the collaborative, playing a meaningful role in co-production, regularly reviewing the quality of care across the East Midlands and guiding the work of the collaborative. I would also like to see the group expand to have a more representative voice for our population.”

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