Cash injection for maternity unit

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The maternity unit at Watford General Hospital has secured a slice of £25 million in funding to improve its service to mums-to-be.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter announced on Thursday that the Watford ward will get £537,000.

It is one of 100 hospitals to be given cash to makeover their maternity wards.

The cash will be spent on improving the Alexandra Birthing Unit and upgrading facilities for bereaved parents, including the creation of an additional bereavement room on the delivery suite and better facilities for the bereavement counsellor. Some cash will also be spent on improvements to the neonatal unit.

Dr Poulter said: “A new arrival in the family is a joyous time but it can present a real challenge for mums and families, particularly those experiencing it for the first time.

“We are now going to see huge improvements to maternity services right across the country – from birthing pools to family rooms and even new midwifery-led units. 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.”

In November, the government opened the £25 million fund to applications from NHS trusts and foundation trusts. Applications have only been approved where there was evidence that mums and dads wanted the changes. Bids were judged by a panel that included representatives from the Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.