‘Women don’t stop giving birth because of a pandemic’ says maternity Divisional Head of Midwifery Danny O’Leary amid the department’s biggest refurbishment in the past 16 years.
The £500,000 improvements were prompted by the need to reduce unnecessary footfall in the department during the pandemic and improve patient experience.
Some services have moved to the ground floor to facilitate closer working with the delivery suite and outpatient services along with the refurbishment of the birthing rooms, inpatient service areas and creation of a new waiting area with more comfortable seating.
Fetal Medicine and the Day Assessment Unit move downstairs while their former clinical areas will be home to an in-house skills lab and clinical education suite equipped with the latest simulation equipment for maternity, neonatal and children’s services.
The suite allows the education team to recreate clinical situations which are recorded and played back so staff can see how they reacted and what can be improved.
It includes a ‘sim-mum,’ a model which is able to simulate breathing, bleeding and other physical changes observed during maternity emergencies. Staff are also able to start intravenous drips and take 'blood' from her for routine tests.
The delivery suite has new flooring in the main corridors and all adjoining rooms have been fitted out with new wall coverings and flooring offering a modern brighter look for the department.
One of the rooms used during the height of the pandemic as a makeshift control room, has now been turned into a fully functional command centre with Microsoft Teams dial-in for all areas to log into during shift handovers, visualisation of all cardio tocographs and a live bed board.
Florence ward, which provides observation to pre and post-labour women, has been redecorated with new flooring, lighting, bathrooms, while the gynaecology department has a new patient waiting area and three new recovery rooms attached to the procedure rooms. The midwife-led birth centre will be refurbished later in the year.
The maternity unit supports more than 4,700 women in giving birth every year.