North Devon Hospital's £1m spend on three new wards

Premature baby - generic
Image caption Accommodation will be provided for parents at the new special care baby unit

Three new wards to improve services for women and children are to be built at a hospital in Devon.

The special care baby unit, gynaecology unit and children's ward at North Devon District Hospital will cost about about £1m.

The wards are part of the refurbishment to the hospital's Ladywell unit.

It is hoped the work will bring services for women and children together - they are currently treated in different parts of the hospital.

The work, which is expected to take 18 months, is due to start in September.

'Superior' facilities

When complete, the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust expects to see and treat about 3,000 children every year.

The gynaecology unit will allow the treatment of more patients as day cases, while the special care baby unit will not only have more modern facilities, but will include accommodation for families.

About 1,600 babies are born each year at the Ladywell Unit and there are future plans to update the outpatient areas to include more child and family-friendly facilities.

Kate Lyons, director of operations, said the modernised unit will benefit staff, patients and their families.

"There is a trend towards more gynaecology surgery being performed as 'day case' and the new unit will allow us to see more women in a modern, updated environment," she said.

"We know from our patient feedback that whilst the care is rated highly, the experience of those using the facilities of the Ladywell Unit could be improved.

"This investment will create a far superior bright, modern environment with much enhanced family-friendly facilities."

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