The very first mum to have a baby at East Surrey Hospital almost 22 years ago came back to perform the ribbon cutting honours at the opening of the hospital’s new Birthing Unit.
Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, launched the search for their first mum in the local papers and Jill Rainford got in touch after spotting the story.
Jill had her daughter Katy in September 1991; just a few hours after the maternity department first opened its doors.
On Thursday (August 29) she returned with Katy to officially open the new Birthing Unit. It was a chance for the mum of four to see the transformation maternity facilities have undergone in the last two decades.
At the opening, Maternity Chief Nurse, Michelle Cudjoe, said: “Mums told us they wanted a more homely environment and more birthing pools, so this is what we did. We now have four birth pools and the number of women now having water births has risen from 4 to 11 per cent.
Four hundred thousand pounds has been spent creating the relaxing and homely birthing unit. Four en-suite rooms with birthing pools, soft lighting and walls covered in calming photos of woodlands and flowers are now on offer to our mums-to-be and their partners.
Michael Wilson, CEO, said: “Last year we delivered nearly 4,500 babies, making ours one of the busiest maternity units in the area. The Birthing Unit is proving very popular with expectant mums, and I know why, it resembles more of a hotel than a hospital ward.”
The money awarded to Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was part of a £25 million investment programme by the Department of Health in maternity facilities and was the largest amount given to any hospital in this area.