Musgrove Park’s Bracken birthing centre reopens following £300k upgrade

Our midwives are celebrating following the news that our Bracken Birthing Centre has officially reopened.

The centre has undergone a £300k upgrade that gives parents-to-be in Taunton and Somerset access to modern, state-of-the-art birthing facilities.

And it’s all thanks to a unique Toad Trail fundraising campaign run by the hospital’s League of Friends last summer that captured the imagination of people in Taunton and the surrounding area.

The Toad Trail raised £50,000 with a further £250,000 coming from legacy donations left to the League of Friends for the benefit of patients.

The birthing centre upgrade is part of the ambitious Musgrove 2030 programme to transform the facilities at Musgrove Park Hospital.

Musgrove 2030 will include a new maternity and children’s building and further development of its cancer and emergency services.  This is in addition to a new surgical centre, acute assessment hub, therapies department and maternity refurbishments at the hospital, which are already underway.

Philippa Quinn, sister responsible for Bracken Birthing Centre, said:

“This is a really exciting time for Musgrove Park Hospital and we are delighted to be able to open our fantastic new birthing centre, which will provide a comfortable, modern feel for parents-to-be in Somerset.

“Bracken is a very popular birthing centre and we bring over 500 babies from across Somerset into the world every year.

“But this meant we were experiencing a huge demand, particularly given many women told us they felt anxious that they might miss out on a water birth as we only had one pool at the centre.

“We listened to this feedback and set out to create more choice for women in the area by adding another birthing pool. We didn’t stop there as we have also been able to completely refurbish the centre, giving women and their families a better experience in a more homely environment.

“Women in Somerset now have access to six birthing pools – two on Bracken, two at our Mary Stanley birthing unit in Bridgwater and one on each of the labour wards at Musgrove Park and Yeovil hospitals.

“We wanted to create a ‘home from home’ feel at Bracken so we now have two birthing rooms, complete with a pool, active birth couches, en suite shower rooms, temperature control and mood lighting.

“We also have a dedicated Woodlands assessment room where women can be seen for appointments before and after the birth.

“We want to again extend a huge thank you to our League of Friends for the amazing Toad Trail fundraising campaign, which proved a real hit last summer. Without the League’s support we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this upgrade so soon.”

Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, said: “Well done to everyone involved in fundraising for the refurbishment of this vital centre. It is much needed and will be of benefit to so many people.

“All three of my children were delivered in Musgrove’s antiquated maternity buildings and I greatly appreciate how welcome this is. These facilities will be a real boost to continuing to deliver top class care.”

Peter Renshaw, chairman of the League of Friends, said he was delighted that the newly refurbished birthing centre had reopened and thanked everyone who had donated money towards the League's appeal and those who had left legacies in the past.

“The fundraising and legacies have enabled not only this project to be funded but also other equipment in the hospital,” he said.

“The refurbished birthing centre is an excellent celebration of 60 years of the League of Friends Musgrove Park Hospital.”

This is the first of three major improvements that are taking place at Musgrove Park’s maternity unit this year as part of the Musgrove 2030 programme.

A second project is taking place to refurbish part of the Labour ward and a final piece of the jigsaw will be the complete reconfiguration of the maternity reception area to give it a more modern feel.

Watch a clip of Philippa Quinn giving a short tour of Bracken Birthing Centre below.

To watch a clip of Philippa Quinn giving a short tour of Bracken Birthing Centre, click here.