Construction work on a £4.1m upgrade to maternity services at Kettering General Hospital has begun.
The scheme, which is expected to be fully completed in December 2015, will eventually see new facilities built in front of the existing maternity unit in the hospital’s Rockingham Wing to replace the existing delivery unit.
A large grassed area in front of the Rockingham Wing has been fenced off and diggers have been preparing the foundations.
Plans were drawn up after hospital bosses said in December that failure to act could see maternity services relocated to another hospital, as the delivery unit was reaching the end of its life.
At the time the hospital’s director of estates and facilities, Chris Hodgson, said in a report that the ventilation system in the maternity theatre suite was discharging contamination and debris.
He added: “Failure to act would result in the eventual closure of the maternity theatres and the relocation of services elsewhere.
“The condition of the existing ventilation systems will lead to the temporary verifications being withdrawn by the authorising engineer and Infection Control in the very near future if nothing is done.
“In addition to the issue above, the design of the existing theatres and facilities is not compliant with Department of Health guidelines.”
While the maternity project should be fully complete by December, the new maternity theatres are expected to be up-and-running in August.
Hospital chief executive David Sissling said: “The trust is currently investing some £18m in its facilities and infrastructure – greatly assisted by a capital investment from the Department of Health of £11.6m in August 2014.”