PARENTS-to-be will have access to state-of-the-art facilities following a £300,000 upgrade to the Bracken Birthing Centre, at Taunton‘s Musgrove Park Hospital.
The cash was raised from a £250,000 legacy to the League of Friends and £50,000 from last year’s Taunton Toad Trail.
The project is part of the Musgrove 2030 programme to transform the facilities at the hospital, including a new maternity and children’s building and further development of cancer and emergency services.
Work on a new surgical centre, acute assessment hub, therapies department and maternity refurbishments are already underway.
Philippa Quinn, sister responsible for Bracken Birthing Centre, said: “This is a really exciting time for Musgrove and we are delighted to be able to open our fantastic new birthing centre, which will provide a comfortable, modern feel for parents-to-be in Somerset.
“Bracken is a very popular birthing centre and we bring over 500 babies from across Somerset into the world every year.
“But this meant we were experiencing a huge demand, particularly given many women told us they felt anxious that they might miss out on a water birth as we only had one pool at the centre.
“We listened to this feedback and set out to create more choice for women in the area by adding another birthing pool.
“We didn’t stop there as we have also been able to completely refurbish the centre, giving women and their families a better experience in a more homely environment.
“Women in Somerset now have access to six birthing pools – two on Bracken, two at our Mary Stanley birthing unit in Bridgwater and one on each of the labour wards at Musgrove Park and Yeovil hospitals.
“We wanted to create a ‘home from home’ feel at Bracken, so we now have two birthing rooms, complete with a pool, active birth couches, en suite shower rooms, temperature control and mood lighting.
“We also have a dedicated Woodlands assessment room where women can be seen for appointments before and after the birth.”
Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: “Well done to everyone involved in fundraising for the refurbishment of this vital centre. It is much needed and will be of benefit to so many people.
“All three of my children were delivered in Musgrove’s antiquated maternity buildings and I greatly appreciate how welcome this is. These facilities will be a real boost to continuing to deliver top class care.”
Peter Renshaw, chairman of the League of Friends, said: “The refurbished birthing centre is an excellent celebration of 60 years of the League of Friends Musgrove Park Hospital.”
Another project is taking place to refurbish part of the labour ward, while the reconfiguration of the maternity reception area to give it a more modern feel.