An award-winning author with links to Chipping Norton donated £10,000 to help mums-to-be at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Clare Mackintosh’s donation will fund three state-of-the-art monitors to help analyse the health of the baby and detect potential distress before the onset of labour.
The author, who has sold more than two million books world-wide, knows just how important this equipment at the Oxford hospital’s Silver Star Unit will be.
“In 2006 I lost my five-week-old son, born prematurely after an otherwise straight-forward twin pregnancy,” she said.
“When I fell pregnant with twins six months later, I was referred to the Silver Star Unit in Oxford, where I was told my chances of carrying to term were extremely low.
“The care I received was second to none, and thanks to the expertise of the medical staff I delivered healthy twins at 37 weeks.
“I remember all too well the anxious wait for a scan, and am delighted to provide the unit with a donation to fund these advanced foetal monitors.”
Clare is a long-term supporter and patron of the Silver Star Society, which is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, and this donation is the fee from her latest book, A Cotswold Family Life.
On a visit to see the new monitors, she added: “I wouldn’t have my family without the Silver Star Unit, and I’m proud and privileged to be in a position to help the fundraising efforts.”
The Silver Star Unit at the John Radcliffe cares for about 500 women a year who have complications during pregnancy, from across Oxfordshire and beyond.
The charity has recently funded four of the high-tech monitors and has plans for a further six, thanks to Clare’s donation and the support of other donors.
This will mean that they can be used across the whole of the John Radcliffe Maternity unit, where about 6,700 babies are delivered a year.
Silver Star Society fundraising manager Maggie Findlay said: “The first wave of monitors are already in and staff really love them.
“They are quicker and easier to use and give more detailed information that can be shared amongst clinicians throughout the Women’s Centre, which is fantastic for our patients.
“Clare is an inspirational ambassador for our cause and this very generous donation means we can purchase even more monitors, which will have such an impact for hundreds of women. We are incredibly grateful.”
Clare used to live in Chipping Norton, working as an officer for Thames Valley Police and helping to set up Chipping Norton Literary Festival.
In a world first, all the computerised monitors are linked so that the information gathered can be viewed across all areas of the hospital and continuously checked to maintain and improve diagnostic accuracy.
Professor Chris Redman, Emeritus Professor of obstetric medicine added: “We are thrilled to receive this generous donation which is allowing us to bring the very best baby heart rate monitoring to every woman who needs it at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
“We are the first hospital in the world to link up these advanced computerised systems in this way, which means we will be able to actively improve its performance over the next decade.
“We envisage all maternity hospitals will work in this way in the future, but it’s great to be the first.”
To support fundraising across the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, visit www.hospitalcharity.co.uk