A new birthing suite, encompassing a birthing pool, will be part of the Western Isles Hospital Maternity Unit modernisation programme, NHS Western Isles has confirmed.
Work started on the modernisation programme this week, after agreement was reached on a suitable location for a modern new birthing suite within the current Maternity Unit.
The suite will include a birthing pool, labour ward bed, toilet facilities and a shower.
It is anticipated that the work to create the new birthing suite will take approximately five months, and that the birthing suite and birthing pool will be available for use in early 2015.
NHS Western Isles Nurse Director, Sandy Brown, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm that the option of using a birthing pool will be available to women in Western Isles Hospital from early next year. There is no doubt that this has been a long-awaited development and one which I’m sure will be warmly welcomed.”
He added: “Throughout this process, there has been an absolute acceptance by NHS Western Isles of the value and importance of being able to choose to use a birthing pool, and we have maintained a steadfast commitment to ensuring that this development progressed in a safe and effective way. We now have clear plans in place and the birthing pool will, importantly, be part of a wider purpose-built modern birthing suite, so that the installation of the pool is not a development in isolation. Rather, it will form a central part of a new modern suite aimed at improving the overall birthing experience for women in the Western Isles.”
Chairperson of the Western Isles Maternity Services Liaison Committee, Ruth MacAlpine, said: “I am delighted to hear the news that work has now started on a new birthing suite which will include a birth pool. After a long time of waiting, this news will be very welcome to expectant mothers in the Western Isles who, from early next year will be able to choose a water birth. This will bring practice in the Western Isles in line with other maternity units across Scotland where the option of a water birth is already available. There are many advantages of using a birth pool during labour and it is great to know that expectant mothers in the Western Isles will now be able to benefit in this way.”