December 19 2013 Latest news:
Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
An expanded delivery suite at Norfolk’s busiest hospital is set to cope with the county’s predicted rising birthrate for the next seven years.
Hospital chiefs, midwives and patients hailed the new facilities at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following a major refurbishment of the delivery suite.
The unit was officially reopened yesterday after being closed for three months for the revamp and has increased the number of birthing rooms from 12 to 15 to cope with the rising birthrate.
The refurbishment was made possible thanks to a £272,000 grant from the Department of Health and the hospital trust put in another £500,000 to complete the work.
Builders worked around the clock to get the project completed within 15 weeks, which has resulted in the creation of six extra bathrooms so that all birthing rooms have en-suite facilities. The work also included a new lick of paint, LED lighting, air conditioning and new cots.
The new-look unit, which was officially opened by the hospital’s chief executive Anna Dugdale, means that there is less chance of women being turned away to other hospitals.
Mrs Dugdale, who cut a ribbon decorated with knitted hats for newborn babies, said: “It is really exciting to be opening this and the delivery suite now has more staff and more rooms. It is a fabulous space and I love the colour on the walls.”
As soon as one of the new birthing rooms was opened, a woman in labour was moved on to the suite, which was close to capacity yesterday.
When the hospital first opened in 2001, there were around 4,000 births a year. Last year, hospital staff delivered more than 6,000 babies.
Jo Segasby, director of women’s, children’s and cancer services at the NNUH, said the work on expanding and modernising the delivery suite had been more than two years in the planning.
“When the hospital was built 10 years ago, it was built to cater for the number of births in Norfolk. There has been an increase in the birthrate and we expect that to increase over the next seven years.
“The staff and patients have been extremely positive about it and they are pleased with the new rooms
and it is a much brighter place to work.”
Glynis Moore, head of midwifery at the NNUH, said the extra rooms had been created by making better use of space on the unit. She added that the staff and patients had coped “fantastically” when the delivery suite was relocated to the Cley ward where visiting was restricted because of less space.
“The staff are really pleased with it and hopefully the patients will like it too,” she said.
The NNUH had to close its maternity ward 15 times last year and 34 women were diverted to other hospitals because it was full to capacity.
The number of recovery rooms has also been increased from one to two so that women who have a caesarean section can stay longer on the delivery suite.