Work on a £6.5m upgrade for maternity and neonatal services at Prince Charles Hospital will begin next week.

The refurbishment, in line with the outcome and recommendations of the South Wales programme, has been made possible thanks to Cwm Taf University Health Board submitting a successful business case to Welsh Government and includes the expansion of the neonatal unit and maternity facilities at the hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

Work on developing the new services will start on Monday, June 12th and is set to be completed in March 2018, when all services will return to the new accommodation.

Improvements include:

  • an expansion of the neonatal unit with capacity for nine extra cots for premature or sick babies;
  • a redeveloped Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU)  with four birthing rooms, two with pools;
  • a redeveloped Obstetric Unit (OU – or labour ward) with six birthing rooms and a designated bereavement suite, currently known as the Snowdrop Suite, which has been designed with the input of families, maternity staff and SANDS.

The investment is also being used to refurbish the existing maternity operating theatre within the OU and to build a second operating theatre facility alongside it.

These exciting developments will allow Cwm Taf University Health Board to care for more premature and sick babies as well as provide more of the latest facilities and equipment for our mums-to- be.

While this work is taking place maternity services, including the Maternity Day Assessment Unit (MDAU), Labour Ward, Tair Afon Birth Centre and the Antenatal/Postnatal Ward and the Neonatal Unit will be temporarily relocating to the ground floor of the Hospital while a dedicated obstetric theatre and recovery area has been allocated in main theatre on the first floor.

To ease any additional impact on the main theatre during this time, a small number of women might be advised to have their baby in the maternity unit at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant. This will be discussed on a one to one basis with the obstetrician and midwife and any decision will be made in partnership with the parents-to-be. The priority for all of our hospitals is to make sure all women have the safest and most positive experience possible.

At the same time, following feedback from staff and patients, partners at both Prince Charles and the Royal Glamorgan Hospitals will now only be given the option to stay overnight in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the midwife in charge of the unit. This is in response to feedback from service users and the maternity team on our maternity wards. Visiting times will continue from 8am – 10pm so families can spend time together and be well rested in preparation for transfer home.

Rachel Fielding, Head of Midwifery and Head of Nursing for Paediatrics and Neonates, said: “This is a really exciting time for us. All the changes to our maternity and neonatal services, including the refurbishment taking place over the next nine months, will help us to deliver the best possible care and develop services which are truly fit for the future and better serve the population of Cwm Taf.”

If you have any questions, please speak to your community midwife or contact  Rachel Fielding, Head of Midwifery and Head of Nursing for Paediatrics and Neonates, at [email protected]

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