Additional funding for maternity units
Health minister Dan Poulter has announced that £25m will be split across more than 100 hospitals to improve maternity units.
The money will be used in a variety of ways to improve and upgrade maternity services depending on the individual needs of hospitals across the country.
Older maternity units, such as the 1970s-built Airedale Foundation Trust and a 1940s unit at Taunton and Somerset, will be completely refurbished.
Elsewhere, simple measures will be introduced to give women more options and improve their experiences during maternity care.
In more than 40 maternity units, improved en-suite facilities will be installed to allow pregnant women easy, dignified access to a bathroom.
Almost 50 units will be fitted with additional beds and family rooms to allow dads and other relatives to stay in hospital overnight to provide support to expectant mothers.
The funding will also be used to provide around 40 new birthing pools, which can reduce stress and pain during labour.
Improved bereavement spaces will also be put in place at almost 20 hospitals, along with eight new midwife-led units, which are more relaxing places to give birth for some people.
Dr Poulter explained that welcoming a new arrival is a joyous, but stressful, time for all parents and the improvements have been designed to make it easier for them.
He explained there will be noticeable improvements to maternity services across the country.
He said: “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.”