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Delivering Bradford’s new birth centre

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new birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary

A £1.2 million project to install a new birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary is nearing completion.

The Bradford Birth Centre and Labour Ward Redevelopment project comprises the full refurbishment of the existing maternity suite at Bradford Royal Infirmary, including the installation of two new birth pools, a full-sized DDA compliant wet room and a lift. The project is being implemented by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and once complete will provide a seven-bed midwife-led unit for the Infirmary.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Project Manager, Shane Embleton, said:

“Part of the Department of Health ‘Maternity Matters’ agenda is to provide expectant mothers with a wide choice of care facilities for when they are giving birth. One of these care facilities is a midwife-led unit which is not run by doctors. The unit is predominately for normal, uncomplicated births which require little intervention and is all about giving the patient a choice for their birthing needs.

“We haven’t been able to provide this service before, so we are pleased that we are finally able to do this now. This is a completely new addition to birthing services in Bradford.”

new birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary

Work began on the redevelopment project in November 2011. The main contractor on the project is Illingworth & Gregory Ltd, whilst all architectural work is being provided in-house by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In addition, the Trust is providing all of the funding for the project from its Capital Programme.

Work on the redevelopment project includes the installation of new flooring, ceilings, lighting and sanitary ware, along with a full programme of decoration works. Meanwhile heating and ventilation systems will be improved and wall murals are being added to make the facility more homely. An important addition to the site is the new lift which will create a private link between the labour and post natal wards. The lift will allow patients to convalesce away from the public areas of the building and is part of the Trust’s commitment to improving services for patients.

Pickering Lifts was responsible for the manufacture of the lift, which was constructed off-site and built in four sections. The lift was then installed over a two day period to minimise any disruption to the day-to-day running of the hospital.

Whilst work is taking place at Bradford Royal Infirmary the unit remains a fully functional labour ward so the project is being completed in seven phases which are designed to work around the daily running of the facility. Currently work is taking place on Phases Six and Seven of the project.

Shane commented:

“We are running the work in phases so that we can keep the unit open whilst the redevelopment takes place. In essence, each phase is similar to the next however by tackling the project in phases we are able to shut three existing delivery rooms down at a time whilst we still keep the service up and running.

“The only difficulty is keeping the service consistent whilst completing the work. This would be a challenge in any situation, but especially in maternity where there is a high risk of infection. However we are constantly keeping on top of dust control and are flexible when required to reflect the needs of the service for our staff and users.”

Shane added:

“With this project our aim is to create a calming environment for patients. As we are committed to improving the patient and user experience we have also consulted user groups so that we get this new unit right first time. From what we learn from this project, we will take on to future projects which include a £2m expansion of Neo-Natal services in 2013.”

The Bradford Birth Centre and Labour Ward Redevelopment project is scheduled for completion in November 2012.

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