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South Lakes Birth Centre

Facts and figures

  • Client: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • Design team: Day Architecture, Alan Johnston Partnership, Waterman Building Services
  • Type of facility: Maternity Unit (formally the Furness Maternity Unit)
  • Contract Value: £7.9 million
  • Building size: 2,587m²
  • Pre-construction: February 2016 – August 2016
  • Construction: September 2016 – December 2017

Key features

  • Completed in less than 15 months.
  • Exceptional levels of user satisfaction with a “Likely to Recommend” score in the Friends and Family Test of 98.13%.
  • Recognised as one of the leading centres in the UK and has set a new benchmark in maternity unit design.
  • Co-design with both local community and staff.
  • Maternity Matters programme created to involve the local community. The programme later was named as a finalist at the 2016 Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Pride Awards.
  • Developed a new LDPR model of maternity care where mothers use the same hotel-quality room for all stages of their stay.

Project achievements

Go and see Morecambe Bay. Go and see what they have done from a really difficult starting position, see the transformation, see the improvement in services.
Dr Bill Kirkup CBE,
Chair of the Morecambe Bay Investigation

The new South Lakes Birth Centre is truly an exemplar, with new ideas and layouts derived directly from staff and service-user feedback.

The South Lakes Birth Centre project involved a major extension to the existing hospital to provide a new maternity unit, delivered under the P21+ Framework. All works were undertaken in a live and working hospital environment adjacent to working wards.

The unit is split over two floors and includes: 14 en-suite birthing rooms, two dedicated theatres, a special four cot baby care unit, two transitional care beds, maternity assessment and bereavement suite

Designed by the Community, for the Community

The Trust embarked on extensive consultation with the community, patients and staff to identify their ideas and needs. The initial design from Day Architectural was explored in detail with them; adapted live using Day’s software, as different ideas were discussed.

The design included many innovations to improve care, privacy, safety, efficiency and comfort.

Pathway Innovation

Sascha Wells – who has since gone on to work for NHS Improvement – developed a new LDPR model of maternity care, in which mothers use the same hotel-quality room for all stages of their stay: Labour; Delivery; Post-natal; Recovery.

This new pathway, and the room design that was developed from it, has a number of advantages:

  • Reduces staffing requirements
  • Uses a smaller footprint while providing a large capacity
  • Reduces movements of patients and staff
  • Provides a familiar room that mothers and their partners can call their own
  • Allows partners to stay overnight on the pull-down guest bed
  • Is convenient and comfortable; each hotel-quality room has an en-suite bathroom

The rooms also contain wall-mounted Resuscitaires, giving mums extra peace of mind from the moment they first enter their room. They allow staff to quickly assist those babies who need a little extra help, instead of hunting for portable equipment.

Post-occupancy Positive Impact

Construction began in September 2016 with completion in less than 15 months. It is now recognised as one of the leading centres in the UK. It has set a new benchmark in maternity unit design with exceptional levels of user satisfaction.

The centre was official opened on 14 February 2018 by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE and John Woodcock MP. The facility has exceeded the expectations of the key stakeholders, the local community and staff alike.