Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) capacity increase options: consultation - easy read

Easy read version of the consultation on how to increase Mother and Baby Unit provision or equivalent services to support women with severe mental illness during the perinatal period and their infants. This consultation will inform the development of an options appraisal, as recommended in Delivering Effective Services.

Mother and Baby Unit Consultation - Easy Read Version

What is a Consultation?

The law says that the Scottish Government has to ask people their views before important changes are made.

When the Scottish Government asks people for their views it is called a Consultation.

The Scottish Government would like your views on Mother and Baby Unit.

The responses should be provided by 31st May 2022.

We will publish the results of the consultation Summer 2022.

What is this consultation about?

This consultation is about Mother and Baby Units in Scotland. There is 1 in Livingston and 1 in Glasgow. Each Unit can have six women and their babies.

Every year for the last 5 years there have been about 115 Mothers in the units.

Mothers who needed mental health treatment in hospital were often not treated in Mother and Baby Units.

Each year there were another 125 mothers who were treated in mental health hospitals within a year of giving birth. This was more likely if they lived in areas that did not have Mother and Baby units.

It may have been better if some of these women and their babies went to a Mother and Baby Unit. However, we do not have the information to tell us why women were in non-Mother and Baby Unit beds.

This may be due to many reason such as a space not available, the mother not being the main carer or the mother did not want to travel from their area. Some women may also want to be treated without their baby.

Why your views matter

We want to make sure the right services are available at the right time. We need to hear the views from people across Scotland. Your views will help us plan services.

The questions are open to allow you to share your thoughts.

If there is anything you feel strongly about then please add it to the final comments section.

You do not need to answer all questions if you do not want to.

Mother and Baby Units

The law says there should be services for mothers and babies if the baby is under 1 year old and it is the best thing for them both.

Mother and Baby Units work in partnership with many services to deliver the best support. They work with specialists, maternity and after birth services, wider mental health and the third sector.

1. Do you know about the current Mother and Baby Units?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Please tell us more about your answer.

2. If you do know about Mother and Baby Units can you tell us:

a) What works well?

b) What does not work well?

c) What can make it hard for women to access the service

d) What improvements you would suggest?

3. If you had mental health problems in pregnancy or after childbirth, is there anything else you want to tell us about the care you got?

More Mother and Baby Unit Services

It is recommended that Scotland should have 4 more Mother and Baby Unit beds.

These extra spaces could be in existing Mother and Baby Units, or by making another Mother and Baby Unit. This would be in the north of Scotland.

There were concerns that women in the north of Scotland are too far away from the units we have just now.

We know the minimum size for a Mother and Baby Unit should be 6 beds. Therefore if a new Mother and Baby Unit was made then it may be larger than 4 beds.

We will look at the options and decide. It will think about equal access to services, if they are good value for money and are safe.

When a woman is referred to a Mother and Baby Unit for mental health care we need to think about lots of things.

4. What do you think is important to women and families when they may have to go to a Mother and Baby Unit?

5. a) What would be the benefit of more space in existing units? (choose all that apply)

  • Access for women and families across Scotland
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Able to run long term
  • Other

b) Can you tell us why you think this?

6. a) What would be the challenges of increasing the number of beds in existing units? (choose all that apply)

  • Access for women and families across Scotland
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Able to run long term
  • Other

b) Can you tell us why you think this?

7. a) What would be the benefits of developing a new unit in the north of Scotland? (choose all that apply)

  • Access for women and families across Scotland
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Able to run long term
  • Other

b) Can you tell us why you think this?

8. a) What would be the challenges of making a new unit in the north of Scotland? (choose all that apply)

  • Access for women and families across Scotland
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Able to run long term
  • Other

b) Can you tell us why you think this?

9. Do you think there is another way to provide the care these mothers and babies need?

The Mother and Baby Unit Family Fund

The Mother and Baby Unit Family Fund was made in 2020. It helps with the costs of visiting those being treated in a Mother and Baby Unit. It aims to support family bonding by making visiting easier.

Partners, fathers and main carers can make claims. They can also claim on behalf of other children up to 16. This can be for accommodation, travel and money towards of food.

10. Are you aware of the Mother and Baby Unit Family Fund ?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

11. If you are aware of the fund, how did you find out about it?

  • From health staff
  • From the website
  • From a leaflet
  • From other service users
  • Other

12. If you or a family member have been treated in a Mother and Baby Unit since October 2020, did you use the fund?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

13. Are there barriers to using the fund?

14. How could the fund be improved?

15. Finally, is there anything else that you would like to share about this issue?


We understand that this can be a difficult subject to talk about. Please see below for a places you can find support.

Breathing Space - Breathing Space is Scotland's mental health helpline for individuals experiencing symptoms of low mood, depression, or anxiety, and offers free and confidential advice for individuals over the age of 18. They can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87.

Samaritans – Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair. You can contact Samaritans free on short code 116 123.

NHS24 - If you are feeling overwhelmed or need support you can call NHS 24 on 111.


NHS Inform - NHS inform has a lot of resources to help with your mental health.

Clear Your Head – Clear Your Head provides advice on how to stay active, keep connected with friends and family, and create healthy routines to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Giving your consultation answers

We invite you to respond to this consultation by Tuesday 31st May 2022.

Please respond using the Scottish Government's consultation hub, Citizen Space.

If you are unable to respond using the Citizen Space hub, you can send your response by email

If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form. (see supporting documents)

Data Sharing

You can choose to have your answers published with or without your name, or for it now to be published at all. All responses will be treated equally.

We would also like your permission to share your responses with the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board. We will remove personal details.

What is your name?

What is your email address?

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

  • Individual
  • Organisation

What is the name of your organisation?

Please confirm that you agree to your responses being shared with Scottish Government.

  • Agree

I confirm that I have read the privacy policy and consent to the data I provide being used as set out in the policy.

  • I consent

The Scottish Government would like your permission to publish your consultation response. Please indicate your publishing preference:

  • Publish response with name
  • Publish response only (without name)
  • Do not publish response

What is your name? We will only publish your name with your consultation response if you have told us that you want us to.

  • Prefer not to say

What happens next?

If you have given permission for your answers to be made public, and we have checked that they contain nothing inappropriate, your answers will be published at

If you use Citizen Space to give your answers you will get a copy of them sent to you by email.

Following the closing date, all answers will be looked at along with any other information we have.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation, please send them to the contact address above or at

About you

This consultation is designed to help us develop services for women and families in Scotland. To make sure services work for everyone it would be helpful to know a bit more about you.

You do not have to answer these questions if you do not want to.

Can you tell us about yourself? Are you a woman with lived experience of mental health problems in pregnancy, have you used a Mother and Baby Unit, or do you work in health services?

What is your age?

  • Prefer not to say

What is the first half of your postcode?

  • Prefer not to say



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