New public Mother and Baby Unit opens at RHH

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

A new public Mother Baby Unit (MBU) has opened to patients today at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The new Unit will provide support for mothers experiencing mental health challenges, including post-natal depression and anxiety.

The MBU is located in the Ward K6 Transition to Home Unit in the West Wing of the new K Block, with comfortable and home-like facilities separate from the rest of the ward, designed to cater to the needs of mothers and infants.

Each room in the unit provides ample space and privacy, featuring its own ensuite bathroom as well as shared living and dining areas, a kitchenette, and laundry facilities available for use.

Premier and Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Jeremy Rockliff, said the Tasmanian Government was pleased to step in and deliver an interim solution for mother and baby services following the upcoming closure of Healthscope’s St Helen’s Private Hospital in Hobart.

“We recognise the importance of this service to Tasmanian families, which is why we have acted quickly to establish a public Mother and Baby Unit for mothers experiencing mental health challenges,” said Premier Rockliff.

Following the closure of St Helen’s Private Hospital, the Department of Health continues to work with stakeholders – including private providers and primary care services – to establish a comprehensive model of care for mothers and babies.

Recognising that hospital settings are not always the most suitable place for care to be delivered, this work includes the development of a community-based model that emphasises primary care and early intervention, to ensure families can access support in their community and closer to home where appropriate.

Families who previously accessed the St Helen’s Private Hospital MBU for maternal exhaustion or support with physical issues such as feeding and settling babies can still access support through the public healthcare system via services such as the Child Health and Parenting Service (CHaPS) and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services (PIMHS).

Healthscope is offering extra support to the psychiatrists that use the services of the hospital to assist in planning the safe transfer of their patients to another healthcare provider or suitable alternative to meet their needs.

“I want to assure Tasmanians that they will continue to have access to mental health and alcohol and drug treatment options offered by the Tasmanian Health Service, private providers, and community sector organisations,” Premier Rockliff said.

This includes Clarity Health Care which recently opened its doors in Battery Point to provide a hospital in the home style program, and The Hobart Clinic which is transitioning day programs from St Helen’s Private Hospital to their centres in Hobart and Rokeby.

The newly opened Peacock Centre in North Hobart also provides 12 new beds alongside an integrated mental health hub, supported by services like Mental Health Hospital in the Home and Detox at Home.

TMS and ECT services will continue to be available through public and private providers.

Tasmanian mothers can be referred to the public MBU by their treating clinician through Access Mental Health – Tasmania’s state-wide mental health support, triage and referral line – on 1800 332 338.

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