Our service is part of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS mental health and healthcare providers in the UK. 

For over 70 years, Coombe Wood has been providing an inpatient treatment service for mothers with mental health difficulties who are admitted to this small specialist inpatient unit together with their babies. The Mother & Baby Unit was the first to be set up in the UK, initially in Hertfordshire. Following its move in 1993, the Perinatal Unit is now in North-West London but as with all Mother and Baby Units, women can be admitted from all areas of the U although local referrals are always encouraged.

Our dedicated and experienced specialist team focusses on:

  • Providing comprehensive assessment, treatment and support for women experiencing emotional or psychiatric difficulties
  • Helping mothers develop parenting skills and facilitate bonding in a homely, welcoming environment
  • Delivering a therapeutic programme that meets the needs of mothers and infants and minimises the risk of relapse or readmission.



First mother & baby admitted to a ward in Shenley Hospital


Mother and Baby Unit established with eight beds in Coombe Wood, Shenley Hospital


Moved to dedicated unit at The Park Royal Centre for Mental Health with 10 beds

By admitting mothers and their babies together to Coombe Wood we can provide a therapeutic programme to meet the needs of mothers and infants both separately and together that addresses and supports mother’s mental health issues whilst supporting and encouraging bonding. The service also supports mothers and families in developing parenting abilities.

There are a number of studies that demonstrate the benefits of keeping mothers and babies together and fostering good attachments between infants and their parents. Specialist mother and baby units offer the ideal environment for a parent with mental health difficulties to be treated whilst maintaining a relationship with their baby or babies, as opposed to separating a mother from her baby by admitting mothers to adult psychiatric wards. There is also a wealth of developmental research which shows that sensitive parental care is linked to significantly improved developmental outcomes for babies in terms of their cognitive and emotional development and physical and mental health. Coombe Wood aims to support all admitted parents in providing this care along with partners and wider families.