Options to increase mother and baby unit capacity: consultation analysis

An analysis of the responses to the consultation on options to increase the capacity to provide treatment at mother and baby units in Scotland. Mother and baby units provide inpatient care for women and their infants experiencing severe perinatal mental health difficulties.


13. Responses to the consultation were submitted using Citizen Space, the Scottish Government consultation platform, or by email.  The Scottish Government also held a series of seven consultation events which were attended by a total of 25 individuals.

14. It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents answered all questions. This report shows the number of respondents who commented at each question.  Where closed questions were asked, the data is presented in numeric tables. However, most of the analysis was qualitative in nature and when referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms ‘a small number’, ‘a few’ and so on have been used. As a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that: ‘a very small number’ indicates around 2-3 respondents, ‘a small number’ indicates around 4-5 respondents; ‘a few indicates around 6-9. Where 10 or more respondents have commented on a specific issue, we have expressed this figure as one in four / six / ten etc in an attempt to quantify the strength of views.  

15. The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments.  Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups.  In many instances the same issues were raised by respondents across all sub-groups and the report highlights instances where there are differences between sub-groups.  

16. When considering group differences however, it must also be recognised that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.

17. While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted within this report in relation to the findings from this consultation analysis cannot be extrapolated to a wider population outwith the respondent sample.  In terms of specific health boards, Highland and in particular Grampian are over-represented due to the higher numbers of individuals within these two areas who responded to this consultation; these respondents may also be more engaged with the topic of MBUs.  Together these health board areas make up two in three of the overall respondent base.

18. Given the skewed base sizes across many of the sub-groups amongst health board areas, the different capacities in which individuals responded, and the small number of responding organisations, it is not possible to make many meaningful statistical comparisons.  Where there is a clear bias, however, differences between sub-groups are highlighted.

19. A pro-forma was developed for use at the consultation events to record all points and issues raised.  This contained six questions, five of which were very similar to those asked in the consultation paper.  Questions 1 and 2 asked about the benefits and disadvantages of expanding one or both of the existing MBUs.  Questions 3 and 4 asked about the benefits and disadvantages of creating a new unit.  Question 5 asked for suggestions for another way that this duty could be fulfilled if not through expanding existing MBUs or creating a new unit in the north of Scotland.  The final question asked what would help women and families with travel to an MBU.

20. These pro-formas were provided to Why Research for inclusion in analysis with the consultation responses.  The findings from each event were included in analysis at the relevant questions.  By and large, the same issues were raised in responses to the consultation and at consultation events.  Where different issues were raised at consultation events, these are highlighted in the report.


Email: PIMH@gov.scot

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