SOUTHMEAD Hospital is to receive £475,000 from the Department of Health to improve and upgrade its maternity services.

The sum, a share of a £25m investment nationwide, will be spent on providing more en-suite bathrooms for new mothers at the hospital’s central delivery suite, a new birthing pool. The sum will also be used to convert two areas in antenatal wards into family rooms to allow partners to stay overnight.

Gillian White, assistant general manager for maternity services at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "North Bristol NHS Trust is absolutely delighted to receive this funding from the Department of Health.

"Providing en-suite bathroom facilities will greatly improve privacy and dignity for the thousands of women who give birth at Southmead each year.

"When putting together the bid for funding we asked women and their partners what improvements they would like to see to the unit and en-suite bathroom facilities and the option for partners to stay overnight came top of their list."

The Department of Health funding complements a separate appeal by the Trust’s Shine Together charity which aims to raise £1.5m to redevelop and improve the maternity unit.

The maternity services will remain in their existing buildings when the new Southmead hospital opens in spring 2014.