STAFF have celebrated the reopening of Wallingford Community Hospital’s birth centre. The centre at the hospital in Reading Road has been closed for the past five months for a £350,000 refurbishment.

Now it has new facilities to make it a more comfortable environment for women giving birth.

The work follows a successful bid by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for funding from the Department of Health’s Improving Birthing Environments Capital Fund 2012.

The trust used the cash for a complete refurbishment of the unit, including two new birthing pools, an extra birthing room, en suite facilities in two of the birthing rooms, and a refurbished family room.

Jane Herve, head of midwifery for the trust, said: “Before we suspended the service five months ago for the refurbishment to take place, about 250 women a year used the centre and now we hope even more women will come here.

“If they meet the criteria for birth centres, it will mean they don’t have to travel in to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to give birth.”