New midwife-led birth centre officially opened by TV presenter
Bradford-born TV presenter, Anita Rani, officially opened the new midwife-led birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) today (Friday 1 February).
The Four Rooms presenter and One Show reporter, who is no stranger to Bradford Teaching Hospitals as she herself was born at city’s St Luke’s Hospital, was given a tour of the new midwife-led birth centre which is part of the Foundation Trust’s £3.6 million investment in maternity and neonatal facilities.
Anita said: “This is a fantastic day for women across the city as well as the midwives and staff here at the Bradford Birth Centre and, as a Bradfordian by birth, I am both proud and delighted to be here today to open this new NHS facility.”
The Bradford Birth Centre will cater for women with a low-risk pregnancy and birth, with all care provided by midwives.
Head of midwifery, Julie Walker, added: “Anita is a role model for women across the district and we are delighted that she has come back to the city of her birth to open our new birth centre today.
“We are also delighted that she has taken the time to view our new facilities and join with us in celebrating this increased choice in where mums-to-be can deliver their baby.”
The Foundation Trust spent £1.2 million on the new Birth Centre and a full refurbishment of the adjacent consultant-led labour ward.
The seven-bedded birth unit boasts two birthing pools as well as a relaxing environment where women can give birth in specially designed ‘home-from-home’ rooms. iPod docking stations are attached to the walls of every room and birthing aids like birth stools, mats and balls encourage women to remain upright in birth so that labour can progress quickly.
Birth Centre manager, Carol Dyson, stated: “We’ve received some great feedback from mums who have already given birth at our new centre. Women who laboured in our new birthing pools have said they found it a really effective form of pain relief so we are expecting demand for these two rooms in particular to increase.”
There is also a shared kitchen in the new birth centre where staff, patients and relatives can use the facilities, and a recently-installed lift now takes mums and their babies direct to the post-natal wards on the floors above.
Jacque Gerrard, Director for England at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “We are delighted that Bradford has opened their beautiful new birth centre and local women are now experiencing birth in a less medicalised environment.
“It will offer women real alternatives at an important time in their lives. Real choices can now be offered to Bradford women as local maternity service can offer home birth, midwife led care in the birth centre as well as high risk obstetric care for woman who need it.“
“At a time of austerity, the Foundation Trust and the midwifery team should be applauded for demonstrating commitment and investment to maternity services where it was really needed. The opening of the birth centre will offer localised, high quality care for the women of Bradford which is cost effective, safe and very satisfying for midwives to use their midwifery skills.”
From the start of the birth centre project, right through to its completion, midwives worked closely with the Foundation Trust’s estates department and the Bradford and Airedale maternity services liaison committee, which includes women who have given birth at the BRI to ensure that the design and décor were appropriate.
A specially-designed bereavement room has also been created to ensure the privacy and dignity of women who have lost children.
The Foundation Trust has also invested £400,000 in staffing levels. Thirty one new midwives and six midwife support workers have been employed to improve quality and safety and further enhance the service provided to women across the district.
A further £2 million will be spent on the Foundation Trust’s neonatal unit expansion when work begins next month.
Meanwhile, the 13-bed consultant-led labour ward is only the second unit in the region to sit alongside a midwife- led centre.
Clinical lead for obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr Janet Wright, said: “The situation of our two units side by side not only ensures that we are putting quality and safety at the top of our agenda, but that we are offering local women a great choice of where to have their babies.”
Since the birth centre opened on November 26 more than 279 babies have been born there.