SOUTH Cumbria’s highly anticipated £12million maternity ward officially opened its doors yesterday (February 14).
However, the South Lakes Birth Centre, situated at Furness General Hospital, Barrow, had already welcomed its first arrival.
Arriving a week early, McKenzie Kirkland was the first baby to be born when he arrived at 8.10am on February 7, 2018, weighing 7lbs 8oz.
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Born to parents Keith and Ann-Marie Kirkland, from Barrow, McKenzie is a little brother for five-year-old Malachy and three-year-old Leo.
Ann-Marie said: “The whole experience has been brilliant. The new unit is beautiful – much better than the old unit. It is so much more open and the beds are really comfy. The staff have been great and looked after us really well.”
Staff and women officially moved over to the new unit on Tuesday February 6, following an intense four week induction and orientation programme.
South Lakes Birth Centre, named by the public and staff, is made up of 14 en-suite birthing rooms with facilities for partners to stay over, two dedicated operating theatres, a special care baby unit, a maternity assessment area, a transitional care facility, a skills lab for staff training and a bereavement suite.
Sascha Wells, Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “This really is the start of a new beginning for our maternity services. We are so excited to build on the foundations we have put in place and will continue to work with our local communities to make sure our services are the best they can be.”
And the teams also celebrated the last baby born in the old maternity unit. Pippa Rae Strefford was born at 10.31am on February 6, weighing 8lbs 14oz. Born to mum Gemma Miles and dad Nathan Strefford from Walney. Pippa is a little sister for two-year-old Isobel.
Little McKenzie was presented with the first commemorative ‘I was born in South Lakes Birth Centre’ baby vest which will be given to the first 50 babies born in the new unit.
And the first baby to be welcomed into the special care baby unit was little Louis Elias Pearson.
Born on January 26 at 35 weeks, Louis is a new bundle of joy for mum Gemma Spurr and dad Darren Pearson, from Dalton.
And co-inciding with the opening, a campaign has been launched to attract midwives to work in the unit.
The new development has vacancies for band five and band six midwives who are keen to progress their careers.
The trust is also recruiting for midwives for the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) for both immediate posts and the long term and is keen to encourage midwives wishing to rotate between the two sites.
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