£18K boost for tragic baby unit

Furness General Hospital.
Furness General Hospital.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded £18,000 as part of a drive to make the NHS one of the safest places in the world to have a baby.

The Government cash will be spent on a range of equipment to improve safety for mothers and babies across the trust’s three maternity units at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Westmorland General in Kendal and Furness General in Barrow.

Gill Walton, new Maternity Improvement Director at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Gill Walton, new Maternity Improvement Director at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

This comes a year after the Kirkup independent inquiry exposed problems at the Furness General maternity unit which led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother.

The money is part of a £2m grant the Department of Health has awarded to trusts across the country as part of the Government’s commitment to halve the number of stillbirths, neo natal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2030. Equipment to be purchased includes four bariatric sitting chairs, waterproof sonic aids and two Haemo cue units which will reduce the amount of time to produce blood test results.

Meanwhile the trust has appointed a new Maternity Improvement Director. Gill Walton, an experienced director of midwifery, will join the trust for up to six months.

Jackie Daniel, the trust chief executive, said: “We have continued to make good progress in improving our maternity services and are nearing the end of fully implementing all of the recommendations from last year’s Kirkup Report. However, there are a number of key areas that need further work and Gill’s input and oversight will be invaluable.”