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Cash boost for Ipswich maternity service

PUBLISHED: 14:06 12 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

PATIENT power has helped secure a £494,000 boost to improve maternity services at Ipswich Hospital.

Staff at the hospital's maternity department listened to what new mothers and their families wanted changing, and sought funding for quiet rooms, counselling facilities away from the maternity block, more homely delivery rooms and wards, and a new parentcraft area.

PATIENT power has helped secure a £494,000 boost to improve maternity services at Ipswich Hospital.

Staff at the hospital's maternity department listened to what new mothers and their families wanted changing, and sought funding for quiet rooms, counselling facilities away from the maternity block, more homely delivery rooms and wards, and a new parentcraft area.

The money was granted today, and welcomed by Cheryl Peachey, of Holland Road in Ipswich.

After their baby son Keiryn was stillborn in January, she and her husband Andrew campaigned for nine months for changes to be made, along with another couple.

The 32-year-old said: "We campaigned tirelessly to get some action, in order to stop other mums from suffering the way we had to. The heartbreak was unbearable when we were forced to listen to other babies crying all night when ours had subsequently died. We felt that this was both insensitive and cruel."

She was offered counselling sessions – but in the maternity block, and said: "After attending two of these, we felt that we could no longer attend and instead we arranged our own healing sessions. So we have campaigned to get this changed as well."

Mrs Peachy had five meetings with hospital management about the trauma, and wrote a dozen letters to chief executive Peter Morris.

She added: "The Ombudsman and East Suffolk Community Health Council are assisting and Ipswich MP Jamie Cann has also been involved. At the end of the day, we feel pleased that we've done our bit in changing the system to help others."

Jan Rowsell, spokesman for the hospital said: "Lots of things were influenced by what patients told us from their experiences of the service.

"The head midwife and senior midwife really listened to what women and their partners, and their families, said to them. So this is a really great example of how people who use the service can influence it.

"We always welcome people to let us know about their experiences and suggestions, across the hospital."

She added: "The money will provide a more sensitive and compassionate service for families who have been bereaved, as part of the money will go towards creating quiet rooms – individual bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms on each of the maternity wards.

"There will also be counselling facilities away from the maternity block, and delivery rooms and wards will be made brighter and more welcoming, to create a home-from-home feel.

"There will be more access for women, partners and families to learn parentcraft skills and attend mothers' workshops in a new area next to the antenatal unit."

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