MATERNITY facilities at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital have been given a cash boost by the Government.

The Headington hospital has got £309,237 for two new birthing pools and two family rooms for women with mental health issues.

Jane Hervé, head of midwifery at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We were delighted to receive this money from the Department of Health Environment bids, which will be used to upgrade the Spires midwifery-led unit and provide two family rooms on Level 5 for women with psychological health issues.

“Once the work has been completed, the Spires will have three pools, and all the birthing rooms will have en suite facilities, which will make a huge difference to the women.

“I hope the number of women choosing to give birth in the Spires will increase as a result of the changes.”

About 6,500 babies a year are born at the hospital’s Women’s Centre, which also cares for women with difficult pregnancies or babies who need special care.

Maternity minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “Making sure families receive a good experience when having a baby in NHS maternity units is a top priority for me, as both a doctor and a health minister.

“Since 2010 we have already seen huge improvements to maternity services right across the country. We have more midwives working in more midwife-led units, record numbers of midwives in training, more birthing pools, and more family rooms. More mums and babies are being helped to have the best start in life.

“This investment in maternity care is already making a big difference to families, with more choice and a better environment where women can give birth.

“But we want to do more. This £10m investment has been targeted to the areas we know need it the most. It has also provided a boost to the local economy by supporting local, hardworking companies who will carry out the work.”

Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “This £10m fund is very welcome. Last year, the first tranche of funding made a big difference to our maternity units and mothers, babies and families are experiencing better facilities.’’

The cash is part of £10m which has been awarded by the Government to 63 trusts across the country.

The Government says it will help improve the places where women cared for before, during and after birth and the funding will also give women more choice of where they give birth.