Health Secretary Andy Burnham visits Lister in Stevenage

A PREVIEW of the �16.4 million expansion of the maternity service at Lister Hospital was given to the Government s health chief when he paid a visit yesterday (Wednesday). On schedule to open fully by the end of 2011, the new service will offer pregnant w

A PREVIEW of the �16.4 million expansion of the maternity service at Lister Hospital was given to the Government's health chief when he paid a visit yesterday (Wednesday).

On schedule to open fully by the end of 2011, the new service will offer pregnant women from across all of east and north Hertfordshire, as well as south Bedfordshire, greater choice over how they give birth to their babies, secretary of state for health Andy Burnham was told.

The project now under way comprises a two-storey expansion of the Lister's current maternity and neonatal unit, which will enable it to support over 5,500 births every year.

Mr Burnham said: "It has been fantastic visiting the Lister Hospital and hearing from the dedicated staff providing high quality maternity care, as well as the expectant parents who will benefit from the new unit being built here.


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"Working with staff and using their knowledge and experience to develop new services ensures patients' needs are at the heart of care.

"The whole NHS has committed to offering women more choice over how and where they give birth and the care they receive during and after pregnancy. Units like this that put midwife- and consultant-led services on one site offer an ideal combination of choice and access to the most clinically appropriate services."

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East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver said: "By 2011, we will have at the Lister one of the most modern maternity services certainly in the East of England. Women who choose to have their babies at the Lister will have far greater choice of who supports them throughout their pregnancy and will give birth to their babies in modern, high-technology surroundings that feel more like home than hospital."

Sharon Taylor, newly announced as Labour's parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, welcomed Mr Burnham.

She said: "The Labour government's investment in the Lister is transforming our hospital and the service it provides for Stevenage residents. From the brand new, state-of-the-art surgi-centre and maternity unit to the much-needed multi-storey car park, this will make a huge difference to everyone in the town.

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