A MULTI-MILLION pound expansion and revamp of Basildon Hospital’s women and children’s services could begin as early as next spring, it has been revealed.

Improving the existing 1960s block was recommended following a review of the department ordered by the Care Quality Commission almost two years ago.

It came after a series of failings following the death of a ten-yearold girl due to medication blunders.

Jennifer Ponting, head of midwifery and gynaecology, is very keen for improvements to the existing facilities.

She said: “Our women and children’s services have made huge strides in recent times and we are immensely proud of our maternity unit’s ‘outstanding’ status.

“Women love having their babies with us and we want to ensure that their excellent experience of our clinical care is matched by the hospital environment.”

A trust spokeswoman said after the planned changes there would be more space as well as better facilities, creating a healthier environment for patients.

She said: “The application primarily includes refurbishment to the existing departments, which were built in the 1960s.

“There will be a single-storey extension and a four storeyextension.

If planning is approved, once the work is complete there will be a redesign of services within the building too, which will improve the experience for our patients and create a dedicated ambulance entrance for the maternity department.”

Work will be done in phases and patient areas will remain in use throughout, to avoid any disruption.

Zoe Smith, director of estates and capital development, said: “Following the positive outcome of the Care Quality Commission’s recent review, including giving our maternity services an excellent rating, it is only right we provide an environment for patients in our women and childrens’ department that matches the exceptional services they are receiving.

“This project has been at the planning stages for some time and we are looking forward to learning the outcome of the planning application, so we can take the next step in developing what we hope will be a beacon scheme for the hospital and our patients.”

A council report on the application said: “It is not considered the proposed development in this case will create any significant highway and parking problems on the site.

“The proposal will provide improved facilities within the departments, upgrading them to modern requirements and space standards.”

Council officers have encouraged councillors to vote in favour of the changes at next week’s planning committee.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “If planning permission is granted we aim to commence work in spring 2015.”