Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, paid a special visit to the South Lakes Birth Centre in Barrow-in-Furness as part of her role as Patron of The Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Princess Anne met with midwifery staff at the £12 million state-of-the-art unit at Furness General Hospital along with HM Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman; Kathryn Gutteridge, RCM President; Gill Walton, RCM Chief Executive, as well as local stakeholders and senior leaders of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).
Sue Smith OBE, Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive of UHMBT, said: “It really was a great honour to welcome HRH, The Princess Royal, to the South Lakes Birth Centre. We are so proud of our facilities and our staff and were thrilled to be one of only a small number of maternity units across the UK to be recognised by such a prestigious visit.
“It was a great opportunity for us to highlight the excellent care being provided by our staff to local mums and families and the truly fantastic things that happen at the South Lakes Birth Centre every single day.
“The visit is especially poignant as a family member who worked with us throughout the Kirkup investigation into maternity services at Furness General Hospital was able to join us. Without this continued support, we would not have been able to develop such a great unit and make so many significant changes to the working culture of the hospital and ultimately the wider Trust.
“I’d like to say a big Morecambe Bay thank you to the families, HRH The Princess Royal and The Royal College of Midwives for such a special and unforgettable day.”
The centre, which was named by staff and the public, includes 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 dedicated Bereavement Suite. Since the official opening on 14th February 2018, staff at the South Lakes Birth Centre have welcomed more than 1,700 babies into the world and cared for countless families.