Planned Leeds Maternity Centre to be UK’s largest
The UK’s largest single-site maternity unit is being planned in Leeds as part of the development of two new hospitals on the Leeds General Infirmary site – providing what Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust describes as ‘a revolution in patient-centred care’.
The centre, which will link the planned new Leeds Children’s Hospital and new hospital for adults, will be able to deliver up to 10,500 babies annually, providing care for mothers and their babies from across Yorkshire and the north of England. The Trust says centralising services will bring about safer care for mothers and their babies by providing specialist care currently delivered across two sites at St James’s Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary under one roof. At present, the teams must transfer babies the 1.5 miles between sites when they need specialist care.
The new hospitals, planned in a single building at Leeds General Infirmary, are currently being designed, with construction expected to be start in 2024, and completion planned between 2026 and 2028 as part of the Department of Health & Social Care’s New Hospitals Programme commitment to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030.
Dr Kelly Cohen, the Trust’s Clinical director for Women’s Services, said the new Maternity Centre would, ‘overnight’, provide a better patient and staff experience. She said: “We will be able to provide integrated family care like we have never been able to do before, which is a key part of the new hospital design.”
The new Maternity Centre will provide:
- a new purpose-built induction and labour suite.
- four new ‘state-of-the-art’ theatre units, with one dedicated to planned Caesarean sections.
- a midwife-led unit.
- a consultant-led birth unit for higher-risk mothers.
- two new large maternity wards, with space for partners to stay.
The Trust added: “Many of the babies born in Leeds need specialist care after birth. Being linked so closely to the new Children’s Hospital will ensure families receive seamless care from pregnancy, birth, and into childhood and adulthood – all in the same place. The new hospitals will also be a better place to work for staff, who currently travel between sites to deliver care in two separate hospitals.”
The new centre’s design has not only been informed by feedback from a public consultation in 2019-20, but also via patient groups such as the Maternity Voices Partnership, whose main driving force has been increasing the chances of good outcomes for mothers and families, with patients ‘controlling their own environment and privacy’. Aneira Thomas, Chair of the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership, said her group was ‘excited’ about the new centralised maternity centre with all services under one roof. The group carried out two surveys of its members about the move in relation to the new facility’s layout, and feedback was ‘generally positive’.