Sir Christopher and Lady Benson opened the Benson Suite today at Salisbury District Hospital.
The Benson Suite provides a dedicated, private space for local families who sadly experience the death of a baby at Salisbury District Hospital. It will ensure the very short time these families are able to spend together is as precious, dignified and personal as possible. The suite will also be available to families who have experienced the birth of a critically ill child or for fathers and babies when a mother is very unwell.
The Benson Suite was made possible thanks to a significant donation to the Stars Appeal, from Sir Christopher and Lady Benson and the Suite has been named in recognition of their support.
Every year, thousands of local families experience the joy of the arrival of a new baby at Salisbury District Hospital. Tragically, for a few families, the hours or days after birth are the only time they will have with their babies.
Whilst midwives provide support and care of the highest quality, until the opening of the Benson Suite, there were no dedicated facilities at the hospital where these families could give birth away from the main facility, spend precious moments together as a family and begin to grieve. Previously, mothers gave birth and recovered on the labour ward where the staff worked hard to give them the quiet space needed, but this could be a challenge.
Sir Christopher Benson said: “No one can doubt the quality of service and the dedication of caring staff at Salisbury District Hospital but at certain times in life all one wants is a place of peace and the company of loved ones. We hope that this Suite will be such a place for people at a time of great tragedy when peace and quiet memory are so important. Jo and I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to help a little.”
Fiona Coker, Head of Maternity and Neonatal Care at Salisbury District Hospital said: “It is wonderful to be able to provide an environment which supports grieving parents and offers them much needed privacy. Sir Christopher and Lady Benson’s hugely generous support has made this possible and, on behalf of the families that this will help, we extend our heartfelt thanks.”
Georgia Chappels (pictured above with her family) whose son Eddie Jack died shortly after birth in 2006 and who is a parent representative on the team that designed the Suite said: “The Benson Suite will offer comfort in the most tragic of circumstances and give hope and positivity by focusing on the individual requirements of parents and families. Being part of this project has been a healing process for me, I feel humbled that my experiences could make a difference.”
The Stars Appeal continues to support the Suite through fundraising for the newly established Precious Moments fund which provides extra support for the families that receive care there.