THE new £32m. maternity unit at Burnley General Hospital is being given £114.977 – for improvements.
The Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre was opened in November 2010 and was heralded as a centre of excellence for treating women and their babies from across the county, particularly in newborn care.
The cash will be used to buy birthing pools and reclining chairs, along with improvements to suites used by bereaveed parents and people from other parts of Lancashire whose children are in neo-natal intensive care.
“We are thrilled to receive confirmation of the £114,000 funding we have received to further enhance and develop our services and facilities”, said Vanessa Holling, divisional general manager for the Family Care Division at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Half of the money, £56,000, will refurbish two birthing rooms. Two additional birthing pools will be installed to meet the rising demand from mums-to-be for water births which the Trust says has exceeded expectations
The rest of the cash will be used to support parents. The centre’s bereavement suite is to have a £24,000 facelift, and £37,000 will upgrade accommodation for parents from out of the area.
The Tranquility Suite, a self-contained flat for patients who have lost a baby, was furnished by women who suffered the same trauma and who raised money for the centre.
Currently, the neo-natal intensive care unit is home to three special care rooms and a parents’ waiting room. One in 10 babies born in East Lancashire needs specialist care.
“We are immensely proud of the maternity services we offer,” said Mrs Holling. “This additional funding will enable us to become better resourced and equipped to meet the needs of families in our area and beyond who choose our services.”
The midwife-led birthing centre is used by women expected to have uncomplicated natural births.
Currently, it has seven rooms, two with birthing pools – one of which was immediately nicknamed “the penthouse suite” by midwifery staff when it was opened two years ago.
Women who need medical intervention have their children in the centre’s 19-room birthing suite, managed by consultants.
It has a close observation room with monitoring equipment for women suffering from conditions such as pre-eclampsia.
As well as the intensive care unit, the centre also has two operating theatres, an emergency room, and a recovery room where women who have given birth by Caesarean section can bond and feed their babies.
It has three gynaecology operating theatres which are used for breast surgery, and a gynaecology day case unit.