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Plans unveiled for new Furness maternity unit

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University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has announced the development of an £11m maternity unit.

The “brand new unit” will replace the current facility that was at the centre of the high profile review by Dr Bill Kirkup into care failings that led to maternal and baby deaths at Furness General Hospital.

“The new unit will… also be a much nicer environment for our staff to work in”

Sue Smith

It will be split over two floors and include 14 birthing rooms, two dedicated theatres, a special care baby unit and a bereavement suite. Plans for the unit were approved today at the trust’s latest board meeting and follow a recommendation in the Kirkup review to modernise maternity facilities.

Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel noted that the present maternity unit at Furness General had been there since the hospital opened in 1984.

“Whilst we have had the redevelopment of the unit in our estates strategy for a while, the recommendation within the Kirkup report for us to improve the physical environment of the labour ward has assisted in speeding up the delivery of these plans,” she said.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Plans unveiled for new Furness maternity unit

How the en-suite bedrooms are expected to look

Ms Daniel highlighted that the plans for the new unit were “co-designed” with staff, patients and the general public.

“We involved various different groups right from the beginning to allow us to understand what local women and families wanted from a new unit and what was important to them, and also hear from staff about what they need in order to do their job to the highest possible standard,” she said.

Sue Smith, the trust’s executive chief nurse, added: “I am delighted that these plans have been approved. The new unit will not only be a vast improvement for local mums and their families, but also be a much nicer environment for our staff to work in.”

Subject to planning permission, work will start in late September, with completion planned for November or December 2017.

Maternity services will continue to be delivered out of the current unit until the new unit is built and handed over to the trust.

Structure of the new maternity unit at Furness General

Ground floor:

  • 14 en-suite birthing rooms
  • Transitional care room for babies who need some medical treatment but who are well enough to be cared for at their mother’s bedside
  • Special Care Baby Unit – made up of a three cot bay, a single cot bay, stabilisation room, and a room for parents to stay overnight
  • Two dedicated operating theatres
  • Bereavement Suite – made up of a bereavement birthing room, sitting room and viewing room

Lower floor:

  • Reception
  • Maternity Assessment and triage rooms
  • Seminar room and Clinical Skills Lab


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