04:30PM, Wednesday 31 January 2018
Staff and patients took the opportunity to waltz across the threshold of Wexham Park’s new £10m maternity unit with a little help from one of the stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Professional dancer Anton du Beke added an element of stardust to the event as he joined health professionals, staff and patients to launch a unit described ‘as good as the NHS gets’.
The new state of the art facility will provide a midwife-led ‘home from home’ environment for expecting mothers and is designed to care for low-risk mums and all rooms within the labour ward and birth centre now have en-suite facilities, plus there are birthing pools in both areas.
Burnham-based Anton described his honour and pride at being asked to attend the event after his wife gave birth to twins in the hospital last year.
His wife Hannah added: “We didn’t know if we were going to be able to have children, we went through quite a process.
“From beginning to end it was really just magical from the midwives, to the anaesthetists and the consultants - so I’m so happy to be back here today and see so many familiar faces.”
Like the thousands of future umbilical cords the ribbon cutting ceremony marked a new lease of life for the hospital and the start of a whole new journey for expectant mothers.
After the ribbon cutting six-year-old Joni Cantrell, who was born at the hospital, presented Anton and Hannah with a bouquet of flowers.
The huge Strictly fan said: “I was very excited, it’s better than being in school.”
At the event with her mother, Emma, and grandmother, Linda Heppolette, a midwifery matron at the hospital for 21 years was proud of her granddaughter and explained how the facility will benefit staff and patients.
“For patients it’s a lovely environment that’s clean and safe.
“And for staff morale is high because it shows the trust places value on our working environment.”
To complement the inpatient redevelopment there will also be a new gynaecology and antenatal outpatient facilities.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust CEO Sir Andrew Morris described how the new unit was going to make a huge difference to staff and patients.
“We want to make sure all of our 4,000 plus deliveries here every year are as joyous as they can be.
“We’ve now got a facility to match the skills, dedication and commitment that the staff give day in, day out.
“This is now as good as it gets in the NHS and something we are really proud of,” he added.
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