A HUGE redevelopment programme at Hexham General Hospital is underway, with £15 million invested to improve facilities for patients and staff.

The project's first phase opened a new improved maternity unit, consisting of a modernised space providing two delivery rooms and a birthing suite all featuring en-suite bathrooms.

A new ergonomic birthing pool, featuring built-in LED mood lighting, will enhance patients' birthing experiences.

The unit officially opens on June 1 with Marion Dickson, executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, and will be joined by three mums who birthed babies at Hexham Hospital.

Tori Rutherford from Hexham birthed her children at the hospital.

Tori said: "I gave birth at Hexham in 2015, 2018 and 2022 and cannot rate the service I received highly enough. The familiarity of the team when entering the unit immediately makes you feel at ease. I was lucky enough to have the same amazing community midwife, Kathryn, for all three pregnancies and I was incredibly thankful she delivered our third baby."

“I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum and always felt hugely supported by the team. The facilities are great and the post-natal care, particularly breastfeeding support, is second to none. The entire team go above and beyond, nothing is too much bother and the help is always there.

“I think this new unit will enable the team to continue to provide a five-star maternity service, and I hope the new space welcomes many new lives in the years to come.”

The whole programme will see state-of-the-art endoscopy and maternity units and an expansion of the theatres' department to build on Northumbria Healthcare’s model.

The wider £326 million investment package will be invested throughout the Trust’s patch.

The general hospitals will be a major focus of this master plan rolled out over the next five years, with the first phase of upgrade work having started at Wansbeck in Ashington and North Tyneside.

Marion Dickson, executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals said: “This new and improved unit gives pregnant people across Hexham who choose to deliver at their local hospital a calm and relaxing place to do so.

“We know that getting the environment right directly correlates with a positive birthing experience and we are really proud of this space we have created, we can’t wait to open it up to our patients.

“Tori’s story is a great example of the commitment of our midwifery teams, who work incredibly hard to build relationships with expectant mothers in a time of new beginnings. These experiences shape lives and our midwives see it as a privilege to care for women at these formative times.”