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NHS Trust approves plans for new maternity unit in Barrow

Credit: of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Plans for a new £11 million maternity unit in Barrow have been approved by the NHS trust's board today.

It follows recommendations made in the wake of deaths of mothers and babies at Furness General Hospital

The brand new unit will be split over two floors and will include 14 en-suite birthing rooms, two dedicated theatres, a Special Care Baby Unit, Maternity Assessment,and a Bereavement Suite.

Furness General Hospital Credit: PA

"It is a real signal of intent I believe as to our Trust’s commitment and desire to provide the very best services for the people of Barrow and surrounding areas.

“The current Maternity Unit at FGH has been there since the hospital opened in 1984, and as you would expect of a unit which has been there for over 30 years, clinical practice and technology have moved on at pace and the building now needs to be significantly improved to match it.

“The best thing about these plans is that they were co-designed with staff, those that use our services, and the general public."

– Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, UHMBT


Inquiry underway into baby's death at Furness General Hospital

Furness General Hospital at Barrow in Cumbria has begun an inquiry after the death of a baby.

It's been reported that the baby died after being born at the maternity unit within the last month.

“It is tragic that a family has lost a loved one, and our heartfelt condolences go out to them.

“It is not appropriate to disclose further details, but as is our practice in circumstances like this, a full independent investigation was launched immediately to allow us to understand what happened and if there was anything that could or should have been done differently.

We will continue to liaise directly with the family.”

– Dr David Walker, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay

A year ago an inquiry report found a series of failings at the unit.

Parents recollections branded 'unreliable' at midwives hearing

The recollections of the parents of a baby, who died after just nine days, have been branded "unreliable" at the disciplinary hearing of two midwives in London.

It is alleged midwives Gretta Dixon and Catherine McCullough both failed to refer Hoa Titcombe for assessment after she claims she informed them she felt unwell.

James Titcombe, father of Joshua Titcombe, arriving at the hearing earlier this week Credit: PA

Her baby died nine days after being born at Furness General Hospital due to an infection that a 2011 inquest found was not picked up by midwives.

Thomas Buxton, representing Ms Dixon, said the case against his client should be withdrawn and called the evidence given by Mr and Mrs Titcombe "unreliable".

He told the panel that the mention of being unwell or poorly arose "for the first time at the inquest hearing in June (2011)".

Mrs Titcombe said in her evidence she was unable to identify which midwife she spoke to about feeling unwell - saying there were two going in and out of the room on October 25.

A decision on whether the two midwives will face sanctions is expected on tomorrow.

Baby Joshua, who died after nine days

Furness General midwives face disciplinary hearing

Joshua Titcombe

Two midwives who worked at a maternity unit dubbed "seriously dysfunctional" face being struck off after the death of a baby boy.

Catherine McCullough and Gretta Dixon will face a NMC disciplinary hearing will over their treatment of Hoa Titcombe, wife of James Titcombe and mother of Joshua, who died days after his birth at Furness General in Barrow.

Last year an independent report found a "lethal mix" of failings led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies in the maternity unit at Furness.


  1. Amy Welch, ITV News

Grieving mother says Furness midwife 'should never work again'

A grieving mother has told a nurse's misconduct hearing that the midwife involved in delivering her daughter should never be allowed on a maternity ward again.

Lesley Bennett waived her right to anonymity as she gave evidence at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The hearing is looking at the actions of Marie Ratcliffe at Cumbria's Furness General Hospital.

Our reporter Amy Welch was at the hearing in London:

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