Karen Cooper and baby Ellen with Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and Staff Midwife Ashley Johnston. Baby Ellen was first baby to be born in the unit when it opened five weeks ago.
Some of the parents of babies born in the unit with Health Minister Michael McGimpsey
HEALTH Minister, Michael McGimpsey has officially opened the newest stand alone midwifery led unit in Northern Ireland at the Lagan Valley Hospital.
The unit will provide a service for women undergoing straightforward pregnancy in their local community throughout the antenatal, delivery and postnatal period.
Mr McGimpsey said: "The opening of this newly refurbished midwifery led unit is good news for local women and follows on from the success of the similar unit in Downpatrick. It offers a new choice for women with low risk pregnancies where they can give birth in a 'home from home' environment led by skilled midwives whom they have come to know."
He went on to say: "The fact that the unit has already seen so many births since it opened five weeks ago is a mark of the popularity of this type of unit for women with a straightforward pregnancy. I have been so impressed by the hard work and commitment of the midwives here at Lagan Valley."
During his visit the Minister also praised the obstetricians who had been in Lagan Valley for their support in establishing the unit and the GPs from the area for their support in recommending this choice to local women.
Councillor William Leathem, Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Corporate Services Committee, also welcomed the new unit.
"The Council ran a campaign to retain a full Obstetrics Service at the hospital but unfortunately this was not possible" he said. "However, the Council welcomes the investment by the Department of Health and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in ensuring that a quality maternity service is available to its ratepayers through this new Midwifery-led Unit."
Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea also welcomed the unit. "It is a testament to the staff at this hospital that we are now able to provide this service," he said. "I am glad that we are able to extend and modernise our local health provision despite the current economic situation." The new unit will have the capacity to deal with 150 births this year, rising to 500 over the next few years. To date, 30 babies have been delivered.
Kerry and Allan Houston with Baby Adam, Lynne Logan (Team Midwife), Sarah Rankin (Team Leader) and Michael McGimpsey (Health Minister)
ON the same day that Health Minister Michael McGimpsey arrived to open the new midwife led maternity unit at the Lagan Valley Hospital there was another new arrival at the unit.
Baby Adam Houston was born in the brand new unit just one hour before the Minister arrived for the official opening last Thursday.
Mum Kerry was due on March 5 and had joked with midwives just a few days beforehand that she could be giving birth when the Minister arrived.
On Thursday morning Kerry and her husband Allan called for a taxi to take them to the hospital and just one hour later little Adam was born.
Kerry, who also had her daughter at the Lagan Valley, had high praise for the new unit and the staff, saying that she would recommend it to any local mothers.
"Everything was straight forward with my first child so I really wanted to have my second at the Lagan Valley," explained Kerry.
"I had no complications and I was pretty relaxed about it. The facilities in the new unit are fantastic. The rooms are really modern, bright and spacious. You have everything at hand.
"I would really recommend the new unit. The midwives couldn't do enough for you and I would definitely hope to go back to the Lagan Valley if I had any more children."