The relocation of the family bereavement room on the Countess of Chester Hospital’s central labour suite has been met with concern by a charity which has supported the hospital’s Women and Children’s Unit since 1991.
The bereavement room is to be moved to another part of the maternity ward due to the development of a midwife-led birthing suite for low risk women who do not need the involvement of a doctor during labour.
But Pat Daniels, of the Chester Childbirth Appeal, believes its new location will be ‘less secluded’.
Pat, a retired midwife, said: “As you can imagine, I have been doing all in my power to change this decision to move the bereavement room to somewhere less secluded.
“I am so upset about this. It is very distressing because I do really support the midwives there who wish to have a midwife-led unit. But I do not think the location for that is on the labour ward.”
Set up by a group of midwives, the Chester Childbirth Appeal has raised more than ï¿½1m for to provide facilities not afforded by the NHS, including the bereavement family bereavement room.
Natasha Harding, of Tarporley, used the bereavement room when her newborn baby passed away last April.
Natasha, who has written to the hospital’s chief executive to express her concerns, said: “It is such a shame because we had such good service from the hospital and the fact that we were away from it all was so much easier.
“For other parents in that situation in the future, they’ll be able to hear people talking about how their labour is progressing and hear babies. It would be wrong mentally.”
The midwife-led unit has become possible following additional investment into the local health system to support increased options for women about how they can give birth in a more relaxing environment at the hospital.
Director of nursing and quality at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Alison Kelly, said: “We are working on plans to expand maternity facilities and birthing room options at the same time as continuing to provide a bereavement suite that is sensitive to the needs of a grieving parent.
“Proposals have been developed to meet national standards with the input of midwives, doctors, new parents and partnership organisations.
“We will continue to work collaboratively over the coming weeks to manage the planned changes in a considerate way.”