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£25m makeover for select maternity units

Eight midwife-led units and dozens of birthing pools will be built as part of a £25 million hospital upgrade plan. 

More than 100 hospitals will use the money to update maternity wards across England, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter announced late last week. 

“We are now going to see huge improvements to maternity services right across the country,” said Dr Poulter, who specialises in obstetrics and gynaecological medicine. 

“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,” he said.  

Maternity units had to show a panel, including representatives from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that local parents wanted the changes.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “NHS maternity services already deliver high quality care for thousands of women every day, but we know there is more that can be done to improve mothers' experience and to make standards of care more consistent across the countries.” 

Upgrades will include midwife-led units, which are “less clinical and more relaxing” places to give birth, more en suite facilities and more equipment like beds and family rooms. 

Several old maternity hospitals will be refurbished, like the 1940's build at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. 

Other improvements will include equipment that gives women more freedom to move around and change position while in labour.