Call From A Midwife: Jenny Agutter officially opens Birth Centre and Neonatal Unit

Jenny Agutter, currently back on our screens in the 7th series of ‘Call The Midwife’ as Sister Julienne, visited Royal Cornwall Hospital’s maternity and neonatal teams today (Friday 9 February) to officially mark the opening of the new Birth Centre and Neonatal Unit.
Sandra Hogan, Birth Centre Manager took the award winning actress on a tour of the new unit where she met some of the centre’s recent arrivals.

There have now been over 150 births at the midwife-led unit, which opened its doors in November. The soft lighting in the four birthing rooms gives a spa like and serene atmosphere each with a birth pool and en-suite facilities. Any additional equipment is kept out of sight to maintain the feeling of normality for the women.

Donations to The Cornwall Birth and Baby Appeal have enabled the purchase of additional equipment; bean bags, balls and active birth rocking chairs and funded enhancements such as the large wall images of iconic Cornish beauty spots which have given the rooms their names; Halzephron, Porth Gwidden, St Michael’s Mount and Rinsey.

Following on from the visit to the Birth Centre, the star, also famous for her earlier roles in ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’, visited the Neonatal Unit where the team delighted in showing off the new, more spacious facilities.

After moving into the new unit nine months ago, the team have already seen the benefit of families being more at the centre of their baby’s care. Each of the cot spaces have a recliner chair where parents can spend longer periods bonding with their babies in comfort with additional privacy.

“For babies, having their families so closely involved can help lower stress levels, promote better health, shorten hospital stays and reduce hospital readmissions, ”

explains Rachel Bailey, Neonatal Sister.

Fundraising through The Cornwall Birth and Baby Appeal continues to provide equipment for the unit including Breast Pumps, oxygen blenders and additional incubators. The unit is one of the first in the country to move towards being fully UNICEF Baby Friendly ‘Accredited’ and has recently gained Stage One Accreditation, one of the three stages to be completed, thanks to the hard work and dedicated care of the staff and the changes that the new unit have enabled.

Jenny Agutter officially marked the opening of the areas before a celebratory tea party with some of those involved in the development projects.

Remarking on the enormous difference between the scenes in 1960’s set Call The Midwife and the facilities now at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Jenny said:

“This is just like being at home but with the safety of being in hospital. It is lovely seeing the combination of funding and effort through the NHS and the local community. The teams here have always provided wonderful care and now they have great facilities to match.”

Reflecting on the experience of 21st century parents Jenny added,

“The social problems are very similar in many ways but people have more support today. The beginning of life gives so many possibilities and the people who come here want to give something back [through the Appeal], realising it is an investment in the future.”

The developments were made possible through an NHS Trust investment of £3.6 million with the additional enhancements and equipment being funded by The Cornwall Birth and Baby Appeal. The fundraising total for the appeal has now close to £100,000 with continued support still needed,

“The people of Cornwall have been great at getting behind the appeal so far and we are so thankful to everyone that has helped in whatever way. We are still very much in need of support from businesses, groups and individuals, to help us to reach our target of £500,000,”

added Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.

Added on February 9, 2018, in News - Maternity & Neonatal Services / Patient Experience