BBC Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke returned to Slough’s Wexham Park Hospital on 31 January to cut the ribbon on a £10m upgrade to maternity and women’s services.
The pro dancer, whose wife Hannah gave birth to twins at the hospital last year, was the guest of honour at a ceremony marking the end of an expansion and refurbishment programme.
The couple met maternity staff and toured the new facilities before Anton was invited to officially open the department.
He said: “This is an incredible honour and an absolute privilege to be here. Our experience 10 months ago was when we had our twins delivered here and it was the most incredible experience because everybody was so remarkable.
“We had the opportunity to have our babies wherever we wanted but we heard of the reputation of Wexham Park’s maternity unit and all the teams surrounding it and we wanted to come here. We couldn’t be more delighted, more happy, more lucky, and would like to say a massive thank you very much indeed.”
The new-look department now includes:
- A completely refurbished 10-room labour ward with en suite facilities, including dedicated disability and enhanced care rooms.
- A reconfigured and refurbished antenatal clinic and maternity assessment centre.
- A midwife-led Juniper Birth Centre, which includes six rooms with en suite facilities creating a home from home environment for low-risk mothers.
- An eight-bed transitional care unit for mums and babies who need a little extra support.
- A dedicated bereavement suite.
- A separate facility for gynaecology outpatients, including consultation and procedure rooms.
The Juniper Birth Centre also has three birthing pools and its rooms include drop-down beds or recliner chairs so that partners can stay overnight.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, appointed construction firm Kier to the project and work began in October 2016.
Frimley Health chief executive Sir Andrew Morris said: “We want to make sure all of our 4,000 plus deliveries here every year are as joyous as they can be. We’ve now got a facility to match the skills, dedication and commitment that the staff give day in, day out. This is now as good as it gets in the NHS and something we are really proud of.”
The upgrade of women’s services at Wexham Park is one of three major projects for the trust, which also runs Frimley Park Hospital near Camberley, Surrey, and Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.
Construction work is well under way on a new emergency department and assessment centre at Wexham, while planning permission has been secured to build a brand new planned care hospital at the Heatherwood site.