Maternity unit at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital gets £270,000 boost

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital maternity ward.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital maternity ward. - Credit: Evening News © 2008

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is getting more than £270,000 to upgrade its maternity unit and improve the experience for women and their partners.

Across the country, more than 100 hospitals will get to share a £25m fund to improve their maternity units.

In Norwich the £272,000 will be used to provide an overall improved patient experience for all women and their partners, with the low risk women being cared for in an appropriate environment and high risk women having access to appropriate resources and care.

Funding will support improving privacy and dignity during and after childbirth by separating shared bathrooms to create single en-suites and creating an additional recovery area so that patients are not transferred to main theatre recovery after emergency/elective caesarean.

And it will improve patient/partner experience by installing convertible sofa beds in selected delivery rooms to allow freedom of movement and choice for labouring women and overnight facilities for partners – one of which is the designated bereavement room.

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Across the country, the improvements will include almost 40 new birthing pools, eight new midwife-led units, more en-suite facilities in more than 40 maternity units, more equipment such as beds and family rooms in almost 50 units, and better bereavement spaces at nearly 20 hospitals.

Other improvements include equipment that gives women more freedom to move around and change position while in labour and facilities that allow women to choose if they want a bath or shower.

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Health minister Dan Poulter said yesterday: 'We are now going to see huge improvements to maternity services right across the country – from birthing pools to family rooms and even new midwifery-led units. These will make a big difference to the experience mums and families have of NHS maternity services, with more choice and a better environment where women can give birth.

'Maternity units have had to show evidence that they asked mums and dads about what changes they need to make – so we know these are the changes local people really want to see.'

In November, the government opened the £25m fund to applications from local NHS trusts and foundation trusts. Applications for funding were only approved where there was evidence that parents wanted the changes.

The Royal College of Midwives' Chief Executive Cathy Warwick said: 'It is great to learn about the positive changes that this extra £25m will make to many units up and down the country.'

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