A BABY boom isn’t out of the ordinary for a maternity unit, but one under way at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital is anything but business as usual.
That’s because it is not just patients who are adding to the population of south east Northumberland – the unit’s staff are getting in on the act too.
Nine members of staff at the Woodhorn Lane hospital’s maternity unit – seven midwives, a consultant and a secretary – have either just given birth or are pregnant.
And in the midwife’s version of a busman’s holiday, most either have had or will be having their babies at their workplace.
Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We deliver babies every day in our busy maternity unit. However, it’s extra special when it’s our colleagues giving birth.
“Given the nature of our workforce, it’s not uncommon to have one or two of our staff who have just given birth or are pregnant at the same time.
“However, to have so many at once is somewhat unusual.
“It’s great that the majority of them are having their babies with us, and that is because they have total confidence in the skills of their colleagues and know they will receive the highest quality of care.”
Midwives Amanda Johnson, Suzanne Whittaker and Sarah Scott have already given birth.
And midwives Jenny Gregory, Laura Radford, Louise Slater and Paula Hawkins, consultant Elaine Simpson and secretary Joanne Linley are all expecting their babies in the summer.
Amanda, 38, of Ashington, gave birth to baby Haydon at the unit 11 weeks ago.
She said: “I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else to give birth. I know everyone there, and I knew that I would be well looked after.”
In addition to the consultant-led unit at Wansbeck General Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs midwife-led units at North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals and Alnwick and Berwick infirmaries.