Last year, more than 4,000 babies were born at Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
This year, the Trust’s maternity team expect this figure to increase and they, alongside Brighter Futures, are asking for your help to improve the care they provide to mothers and their babies through labour, birth and post-natal care.
To support this, Brighter Futures, The Trust's charity, is pleased to be launching its new Better Births Appeal.
The £80,000 appeal will look to improve services throughout maternity – with a particular focus on more personalised, patient-centred births.
The appeal will raise money for three key pieces of equipment: 18 moveable cots that will help mothers’ post-caesarean section to get closer to their babies, one adjustable bed that can allow mothers to give birth in different positions and four wireless foetal monitors that will monitor mothers in labour wherever they are in the hospital.
The appeal sits under the Better Births campaign, led by staff in maternity services who are aiming to create environments, across the Delivery Suites, which are homely, comfortable and less clinical than a normal hospital ward.
They are also keen to put more of a focus on patient-centred care, with closer links between mother and midwife.
Kathryn Owen, Midwifery Matron, said: “We are so excited to be working with Brighter Futures on this appeal, and know that these pieces of equipment will really improve the care that we can provide and the experience for women who give birth at the hospital.
“The cots will mean that all mothers’, in particular those who are recovering from a caesarean birth, will find it more comfortable and will be able to keep their babies close to them at all times, as the cots can pivot and be moved right across the mothers bed.
“Similarly, the new bed we are hoping to purchase will allow mothers to adopt a variety of positions which enables a more personalised labour and birth.
“Sometimes, we recommend that a monitor is attached to mothers in labour to record their baby’s heartbeat. These monitors can be quite restrictive, as they have lots of wires and often keep mothers in their beds.
“We would like to support mothers to be more mobile during labour and these new monitors will mean mums can move around without being restricted by the wires on the majority of our current monitors. They even enable monitoring in the birthing pool.
“There is also a fantastic facility that will enable some mum’s to leave the Delivery Suite, for short periods whilst being monitored, with the midwife able to call mum back via the monitor if needed.
“We have lots of ideas to raise the necessary funds for this campaign and really do hope that the people of Swindon will get behind us to support it.”
Laura Bailey gave birth to her son Reggie at the Great Western Hospital’s Hazel Ward last week.
“We have had amazing care,” she said. “The staff have been fantastic and we felt really involved and included in the whole birth.
“The midwives all introduced themselves and talked through everything so we constantly felt updated. It was a really personal experience and made it so much better. We felt constantly reassured.
“The Better Births Appeal will make a lot of difference to families. A homelier environment means they will be more relaxed, and it also is good for preparing to take your baby home too.
“Some of this equipment, like the new cots, will make experiences so much better.”
Friends of Savernake Hospital and the Community have kick-started the appeal with a £10,000 donation.
"Many women in our local community give birth at Great Western Hospital, Swindon,” said the charity’s Co-Chair, Janet Louth.
“As a charity supporting local health-related grants, the Friends of Savernake Hospital and the Community were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to support the Better Births Appeal, which will ensure that even those who require medical intervention can experience as personalised a birth as possible, with the purchase of the new maternity ward equipment.
The Friends' trustees wish Brighter Futures every success with this appeal."
Jane Leighton, Major Gifts Manager, said: “We are so grateful to Friends of Savernake Hospital for donating such a generous amount of money to get our Better Births Appeal underway.
“I am excited for this appeal as it will really help to improve our maternity services.
“The birth of a child should be a wonderful, life-changing time for a mother and the whole family. The money we hope to raise will really help our maternity teams to provide more personalised, family-friendly births which we know are so important.
“There are a number of ways you can get involved with the appeal, so please visit our website to find out more. If you have any ideas, please do give us a call and we can support you with fundraising.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.brighterfuturesgwh.nhs.uk/fundraising/better-births-projects/.