Islington politicians have given the nod to “long overdue improvements” at the Whittington Hospital’s maternity unit.
The Town Hall’s planning committee this week approved upgrades to the Kenwood wing, which houses maternity and neonatal services, on Magdala Avenue in Archway.
It includes en suite labour ward rooms, a new triage area and a new neonatal intensive care unit.
There will also be a new entrance to the maternity department, a new women’s day unit, a new multi-faith space, a new junior doctor’s rest area, and a home for other clinical services.
The hospital said it needs the facilities for families, staff and an improved pastoral care centre.
It said the scheme will mean there are “modern and welcoming facilities for families, patients and our staff”.
It added: “It will result in families having access to en suite rooms for their comfort and privacy. A bereavement space will also be created which will support the care given to families dealing with a sad loss.”
Patients getting bad news currently have to share space with pregnant mothers, the trust said.
The hospital trust told the planning committee that “a substantial upgrade” was needed.
“The existing facilities are congested and do not meet patient or staff expectations for modern healthcare,” it explained.
“There is insufficient space for parents to sit alongside cots, there are no en suite delivery rooms in the labour ward, there are no dedicated bereavement suites and all inpatient beds are in curtained bays.”
Without improvements, the hospital risked losing income as mothers may choose to give birth elsewhere and staff may choose to work at another hospital.
Councillors wanted to know why the plans for the hospital were piecemeal and asked for a masterplan for the whole hospital site.
Planning officer Stefan Sanctuary said the hospital trust has a long-term plan for the site but is “constrained” by competing for NHS funding.
The trust said a phased approach meant it could get funding for the scheme.