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BRI’s new £3.6m midwife-led Birth Centre puts emphasis on ‘normal’ deliveries
A new midwife-led birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary opens it doors to women later this month as part of a £3.6 million investment in maternity and neonatal facilities in the city.
The Bradford Birth Centre will cater for women with a low-risk pregnancy and birth, with all care provided by midwives. The centre, which has been five years in the planning, opens for the first time on Monday, November 26.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has spent £1.2 million on the new Birth Centre and a full refurbishment of the adjacent consultant-led labour ward.
A new lift has been installed linking birthing facilities with the post-natal wards in the floors above and a new bereavement room has been created for the privacy and dignity of women.
A further £400,000 has been invested in staffing levels. The Foundation Trust has employed 31 new midwives and six maternity support workers, raising the ratio of midwives to one for every 31 women. This will enable midwives to spend more time with women, enhancing the quality of care.
A further £2 million will be spent on the trust’s neonatal unit, with work beginning in March.
Head of midwifery at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Julie Walker, said: “This is for the women of Bradford, and through the maternity services liaison committee they have been able to get involved in how the new Birth Centre is laid out and the decor and the colours. They have been working pretty tirelessly.”
The Birth Centre will be open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and has seven en suite rooms, two with birthing pools. A third birthing pool is located in the consultant-led labour ward.
With the emphasis on a normal birth with less pain relief, women in the Birth Centre will be encouraged to be mobile during labour and all will have birthing aids such as birthing balls, stools, mats and slings.
The centre has a communal kitchen and sitting room and there are plans for a terraced area outside. The suites are all named and have a nature theme, corridors are curved and feature murals and rooms have iPods to offer a homely and relaxing environment.
Carol Dyson, Bradford Birth Centre manager, encouraged women to start asking their community midwives about the new centre.
“I am really excited about the opening,” she said. “This is what women have been telling us they want. I would encourage all women with a low risk to ask about the Birth Centre when they discuss their birth options.”