BEREAVED parents have spoken of their fears over the future of a precious unit supporting families through the devastating loss of a baby.

For nearly 20 years mums and dads whose babies were tragically born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or termination, have fundraised tirelessly for SPRING at Poole Hospital's St Mary's maternity unit.

But the future of the bereavement charity, which works to provide care alongside NHS services to ease the unimaginable heartache of saying goodbye to a baby, was put into question after commissioners have decided to close the unit and instead move services to Royal Bournemouth Hospital in the future.

Today the Daily Echo can reveal Poole Hospital's team will lead the planning of a new state-of-the-art maternity unit at RBH and SPRING will continue to operate there.

However just months after a £500,000 drive to upgrade all rooms in the labour ward and three years after a £4m investment into the facilities at Poole, it is unclear what will happen to the building.

This includes two specialist bereavement suites so families can spend precious time with their baby before saying goodbye, a counselling room and even a separate entrance.

Mum-of-three Natasha Woodrow, whose daughter Dottie was tragically stillborn aged 25 weeks, said: "What a waste. Over the years people have worked tirelessly to raise all that money for these marvellous specialist facilities and great progress has been made.

"It's a really sad decision. I'm sure I'm speaking for many mums when I say there is a lot of worry over the uncertainty that lies ahead. I just hope RBH has the adequate space and facilities for what women need."

Another mum added: “At Poole Hospital, people have fundraised for years for dedicated bereavement suites at Poole Maternity Hospital, so that mums, dads and families who are about to or have lost their baby don't have to be thrust in among all the happy families having their bundles of joy. These suites give families privacy, dignity, space, time, respect, in their darkest, most terrible experiences. These suites are sadly constantly in use. They have been a blessing in hell.”

A Poole Hospital spokesman said the future of St Mary's maternity unit 'is still to be determined' but the hospital is 'keen to work with partners to find the right solution which will benefit both the Trust and the wider community.'

Debbie Fleming, chief executive, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Poole Hospital is very proud of its association with SPRING recognising and valuing the team’s contribution in supporting families in the saddest of times.

“The current hospital team will be leading the planning of the new Women and Children’s Unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital site, with the retention of key services being an important part of our plans. Therefore, we are happy to confirm that SPRING’s highly regarded bereavement support service will continue to be provided when it moves to its new location.”

In 2014, Poole Hospital spent £4m redeveloping its maternity unit, with facilities including state-of-the-art birthing pools to help it cope with an expected 1,400 extra births a year.

A spokesman from RBH said the hospital will work to ensure there are bereavement suites in any new unit.

For information about SPRING go to