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New room for tragic mums

PUBLISHED: 13:30 18 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

NEW mums whose babies die should soon no longer have to undergo counselling within earshot of crying newborns.

Soundproofed counselling rooms at the entrance to maternity wards, are among a series of measures which Ipswich Hospital has applied for funding for.

NEW mums whose babies die should soon no longer have to undergo counselling within earshot of crying newborns.

Soundproofed counselling rooms at the entrance to maternity wards, are among a series of measures which Ipswich Hospital has applied for funding for.

Head of midwifery Chris Colbourne outlined a plan for new counselling and bereavement facilities at Friday's hospital board meeting.

It includes a new 'parent craft' building in which to teach parenting skills, better bereavement facilities and redecoration of the 32-year-old maternity block which needs showers added and delivery rooms made less clinical.

A £494,000 bid for the necessary funds has been submitted, in the hope that Ipswich can secure some of the £100million earmarked to update maternity departments across Britain by Health Secretary Alan Milburn.

The hospital expects to hear soon whether the money will be forthcoming.

The news comes seven months after the Star told of grief-stricken young mum Victoria Baker's trauma, when she had to go in to the maternity block for counselling after her baby was stillborn in 2000 - and had to walk past other babies.

Mrs Colbourne said counselling could not be offered off-site, because most mums still need hospital care, but said the rooms will be adapted to suit the purpose.

She said: "At the moment when we have a new mum needing bereavement care we can't isolate her from the ward, so a hefty part of the funding bid is money to improve facilities.

"The rooms will include a double bed because the dad often wants to stay too, and they will be soundproofed because for parents who have lost their baby, the sound of other babies crying is the most distressing thing."

She said that 18-20 babies die each year, of the 3,500 born.

The midwifery service also outlined a new strategy, designed to incorporate new national recommendations about how care should be given.

Ipswich already does many of the things, but Mrs Colbourne said midwives are being encouraged to study for degrees and diplomas.

The aim is to make women feel safe and cared for during the experience of childbirth.

It includes making sure a choice of place of birth is available, encouraging innovation, training about post natal depression, and continuing to offer all women a 'de-briefing' service on their experience.

One midwife is specially-trained to help pregnant women who abuse drugs, who number about 30 every year.

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