Baby Boom Hits East of Scotland


By Alexander Lawrie

A BABY boom in Scotland’s capital has led to the expansion of the city’s maternity services.

The arrival of hundreds of new babies will see the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary open up a brand new birthing centre.

Services for new mums at St John’s in Livingston are also to be upgraded under new plans to be unveiled this week.

The number of births in the Lothian area has shot up by a massive 11 per cent from 8538 in 2004 to 9456 in 2007.

The ERI saw over half of the births in the Lothians, with just under 3000 of Lothian’s babies being born at St John’s.

Alex McMahon, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Modernisation, NHS Lothian, said: “Lothian is thriving and that’s attracting a lot of people from the rest of the UK and abroad here for work.

“At the same time, we want to reflect the views of expectant mothers and others on the sort of care we should be providing, from pre-conception advice to post-natal care.

“If the board agrees, we’ll be launching a new public consultation on our maternity services strategy in January.”

The new Birthing Centre will be large enough to cater for up to 1500 births a year, while facilities at the Livingston hospital are to enjoy a substantial upgrading.

It will be positioned next to the city’s existing maternity centre, the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health.

The centre will be led by midwives, and cater for expectant mothers who do not require any high-tech medical interventions.  If unexpected complications are encountered, the mother can then be quickly transferred to the unit next door.

An NHS Lothian meeting is being held this week to ratify the plans, and if the board agrees to the proposals a business case for the project will be finalised in 2009.