�16.4m plan for maternity services set to be approved

HOSPITAL bosses are set to take a step forward today (Wednesday) in approving a �16.4m business case for expanding maternity services at Lister in Stevenage. The boards of the East and North Herts NHS Trust and PCT will meet to discuss plans for the two-s

HOSPITAL bosses are set to take a step forward today (Wednesday) in approving a �16.4m business case for expanding maternity services at Lister in Stevenage.

The boards of the East and North Herts NHS Trust and PCT will meet to discuss plans for the two-storey expansion of Lister's current unit and, if approved as expected, will then submit the plans to the East of England Strategic Health Authority for final approval.

The new facilities will support more than 5,500 births a year and will include a midwife-led unit, a consultant-led unit, new delivery rooms - some of which will have water birth facilities - and neonatal cots.

If the plans are approved, work is expected to start on the Lister site by July this year and the new unit will be fully functioning from May 2011.

The maternity unit at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City will then close and the Trust's specialist staff will be brought together on a single site, providing women with options in how they give birth.

Women will continue to have their ante and post-natal care provided close to where they live, as they do now.

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Nick Carver, the Trust's chief executive, said the Trust is "preparing to provide leading-edge services to pregnant women".

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