Care for women and babies at Whipps Cross Hospital is set to be transformed with a £6.8m redevelopment, funded by Barts Charity.
Work will begin in April 2018 on a newly remodelled women's centre that will see seven clinical areas redesigned and redeveloped to improve the facilities and experience for women.
One in five women currently choose to give birth elsewhere purely due to the current tired estate. This was also noted by the Care Quality Commision (CQC) who, despite rating the care provided and service as “good”, also recognised the challenges arising from the inadequate estate.
"I am delighted that, thanks to Barts Charity funding the development, our plan for a dedicated treatment and research centre will now be realised, improving the experience of the many women cared for at Whipps Cross Hospital", said the hospital's Managing Director, Alan Gurney.
The improvements will see developed at the hospital:
- A state of the art midwifery-led birthing unit and the remodelling of assessment units, antenatal clinic and postnatal ward.
- An outstanding special care baby unit, including overnight ‘rooming in’ facilities for parents.
- A Women’s Centre of Excellence, with specialist gynaecology and cancer services under one roof.
The investment will also create a co-located research unit, part of the Barts Women’s Health Research Centre, enabling the teams to more easily discuss clinical trials with women, and featuring a new mini on-site laboratory. More women and babies will have the opportunity to be enrolled into a wider range of research projects, with staff also developing new research opportunities. It is believed this will benefit care for over 50,000 local families in the next ten years.
Cristina Cribiu and husband Daniel from Leyton celebrated the arrival of their daughter Francesca on the 8th November at the hospital’s Lilac Birth Centre. Cristina said: “The investment is a great thing. Parts of the building do look run down and I can understand why some people’s first reaction might be to go elsewhere to have their baby. But the centre is clean and I had enough privacy, and the staff have been great throughout which I feel is what really matters; I am extremely grateful to them.”
Fiona Miller Smith, Chief Executive of Barts Charity, said: “We’re delighted to have funded this hugely exciting new project at Whipps Cross. It is set to have a huge impact on the local population, supporting mothers and children of east London. It also builds on our previous £2m funding to establish the Barts Women’s Health Research network, and we’re confident that it will give them a greater reach to ensure significantly improved care and outcomes for mothers across the UK.”
Alwen Williams, Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust added: "Our new centre will mean that our dedicated teams not only provide the best care for women and babies in the modern, comfortable facilities that they deserve, but also improve safety for generations through developing innovative new research opportunities."