Special delivery for maternity services at St John's Hospital

Twins returned to the hospital where they were born 19 years ago to launch a multi-million pound upgrade of maternity services.

Karen and Stuart Hatton, who were celebrating their 19th birthday, were chosen as the guests of honour at the upgraded labour ward and special care baby unit (SCBU) at St John’s Hospital, Livingston.

The teenagers, who were born on 8th September 1996, cut the ribbon on the £3m renovation project which provides new and improved facilities for expectant mums from across Lothian.

It was an extra special moment for the twins, because their mum Janice also helped design and coordinate the entire project.

Stuart said: “I am so proud of my mum for doing all of this. It is fantastic that she has been able to make such a difference and we were here to share it.”

Karen added: “Stuart and I were born prematurely in the labour ward and then spent the first weeks of our lives in SCBU. They are such important services.

“And our mum knows first-hand the difference that modern facilities can  make to families and that homely touches can make things a lot easier for everyone.”

Janice, a Charge Midwife, was part of the team that coordinated changes to the maternity services to ensure they can continue to meet rising demand and complexity of cases.

Janice gave birth to the twins when she was working as a midwife in 1996 and has worked with NHS Lothian for the last 36 years.

She said: “I'm really proud to be part of the team that put in all of the hard work to make the upgrade a reality.

“These services are crucially important and my twins, who spent the first weeks of their lives in SCBU, just go to show that."

Last year, 2745 babies were born in St John’s Hospital and around 340 babies are treated in SCBU each year.

NHS Lothian worked with architects, pregnant women and new mothers to ensure the centre is the best it can possibly be and provide some more homely-style touches.

The labour ward now has nine self-contained delivery suites with en-suite bathrooms and three include a pool for water births.

Each room has also been fitted with TVs, bigger windows, birth balls and mats to help expectant mums (and dads) remain comfortable throughout their experience.

The new Special Care Baby Unit provides 10 cots with modern clinical facilities for newborn babies who require specialist care.

The design also focuses on the provision of family centred care with the inclusion of two bedrooms with en-suite facilities allowing parents to ‘room in’ with their baby before discharge, a family room for use by parents and siblings with a small kitchen area and a counselling room allowing privacy and quiet space for parents.

Fiona Mitchell, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, NHS Lothian, said the upgrade will make a real difference to families from West Lothian and beyond.

She added: “We are delighted and proud that the upgrade to both important services is now complete.

“We listened carefully to the mums, staff and patients who told us what they wanted and need from the services and we are confident we have delivered.

“The feedback has been fantastic from both mums and staff.”

Local politicians MSPs Angela Constance and Fiona Hyslop were able to see the improvements first-hand when they visited the facilities last week and gave them their seal of approval.​