£480,000 cash boost for midwifery services at Northampton General Hospital

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Northampton General Hospital is set to receive almost half-a-million pound in government funding aimed at helping it improve and upgrade its maternity unit.

The £480,000 cash boost will see a number of improvements made at the hospital and will be used to develop an alongside Midwife-led Unit (MLU) - which is designed to give women more birthing options.

A MLU unit at Northampton is planned to complement the existing home birth service at the hospital, and its high risk obstetric unit.

The hospital hopes that providing a midwife-led birthing unit on site would offer women a ‘home-from-home environment where birth can remain an intimate and personal experience, supported by midwives’.

The funding will support development of a birthing pool suite, the creation of 3 x 4-bedded bays with en-suite facilities and conversion of a maternity ward into a midwife-led unit.

The cash boost is part of a £25 million fund to improve and upgrade maternity units of 100 hospitals across the country, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter announced today.

The money will go towards a wide range of projects, with funding for a large number of ‘simple measures’ that improve choice for women and their experience of maternity care.

The Health Minister said:“A new arrival in the family is a joyous time but it can present a real challenge for mums and families, particularly those experiencing it for the first time.

“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 £25 million fund to applications from local NHS trusts and foundation trusts. Applications for funding have only been approved where there was evidence that parents wanted the changes. Bids were judged by a panel that included representatives from the Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.