The people of north west Hampshire turned out in force to find out about the maternity services available on their doorstep during an open day held at Andover War Memorial Hospital.
The Charlton Road hospital’s doors were thrown open to the public, giving interested people an opportunity to have a look around the maternity centre, see what facilities are available there and speak to staff.
Molly Businge-Okafor, who lives in Andover and was heavily pregnant at the time, was among the visitors on the day.
“I would like to have my baby here, so it was really good to have the chance to come in and have a look around,” she said. “It’s lovely to have these facilities in Andover, so close to home, and it was great to get the chance to look around today. I really want to have a water birth, so I’m really happy that they have the facility for that here.”
Maxine Ellis, community midwifery matron at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Andover hospital, as well as hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester, organised the event with the Andover community midwifery team to raise awareness of the services offered in the centre.
She said: “We were really pleased with the way the day went and it was nice to give everyone the opportunity to see what is on offer here. People in the town don’t necessarily know about the maternity centre, so it was great to showcase the facilities.
“A lot of people came along, of all different ages. We saw a lady who had given birth here 42 years ago and she visited with her great niece, who had a baby here two years ago.
“We also asked people about other things we could do and how we could make the facilities here even better. We’ve had a lot of really good feedback and it’s given us plenty to think about.”
Mindy Noble, chairperson of the Hampshire Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC) was also at the open day, where she heard about the wonderful experiences so many women had already had at the maternity centre.
She said: “It was a great day and fantastic to see so many people through the door. The overwhelming response was how friendly and supportive the team are at the maternity centre, and that is what makes people want to go there. Women get so much confidence from a supportive team and we know the positive impact his can have on their birthing experience.
“If any recent parents or parents to be would like to get more involved in developing the plans for Andover they can get in touch with me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.”