KIRKCALDY;'Forth Park Maternity Hospital. 'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'Forth Park Maternity Hospital. 'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
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CATH Cummings and Heather Henderson will bid a fond farewell to Forth Park Maternity Hospital in Kirkcaldy when it closes in early January.

Both have worked as midwives at the home for more than 30 years.

Monday, January 9, 2012 will mark the end of an era as this is the day Forth Park is due to close for good.

The staff and maternity services are moving to a new state-of-the-art modern facility at the new £170 million wing of Victoria Hospital where they will carry on Forth Park’s legacy and continue to deliver the best maternity services for families in Fife.

Cath, who is currently midwifery nurse manager at Forth Park, told the Press the last baby should hopefully be delivered before midday on January 9 and from noon onwards, mums-to-be should head to the new wing to have their babies.

She said: “Any mums who are close to delivering will stay where they are in Forth Park until their baby is born.

“If the mum is already in labour, she will stay at Forth Park - even if it means going into January 10, staff will be here. But from midday on January 9 women should go to the Victoria.

‘‘There will be a 24-hour period where there will be double running with staff remaining at Forth Park, while some transfer to the new wing.


It will be a historic moment when the changeover takes place as Forth Park Hospital has been in the town since 1935.

Over the years the midwives have delivered over 100,000 babies - which is more than a quarter of Fife’s population.

But while Cath is sad to be leaving the hospital, she is also looking forward to the future.

“I am very excited about the move - as are all the midwives here. In a way we are sad to be leaving because Forth Park has been a good home to us.

‘‘I have a lot of memories from here - my two daughters were born here as were my nieces and nephews.

“But I am sure the new wing will be a good home too. The Forth Park building is getting tired now. And the dignity the women deserve - we can’t provide that here, but at the new wing we will be able to do that.

“At the Victoria the rooms will have en-suite facilities, there will be piped gas and air and baths in every room. There will be more single rooms and two birthing pools. There will be 26 labouring rooms altogether whereas we only have 11 here.”


Staff will be attending a special ball at Pettycur Bay Hotel, Kinghorn on Saturday, January 7 to celebrate Forth Park - and the money from the ticket sales will be used to fund soft furnishings in the new wing.

Cath added: “Forth Park has been a good hospital for the era it was meant for but now we are in 2012, unfortunately we don’t have the space for en-suite facilities.

“But it’s not the building that makes the unit, it’s the staff and no matter where we go, the team will be there.

We have a good team and we will take Forth Park’s ethos with us.”

Heather Henderson has been a staff midwife for 37 years at Forth Park Hospital and has delivered over 10,000 babies during that time.

She has even been involved in the birth of three and four generations of the same family!

She said: “I am excited and apprehensive about the move.

‘‘All my memories are here in Forth Park and this is where I have spent my career. I have some sad memories but the happy ones outweight the sad ones.

“I didn’t want to go to the new wing to start with, but I was really excited when I saw it.

“The rooms are very spacious and each one will have its own toilet. We are all excited - it will be a new chapter in Forth Park’s life.”

Heather began her nursing career in 1971 when she was a student nurse at Victoria Hospital. She then went on to work in surgical wards before becoming a midwife.

She said: “I started off at the Vic and will finish up at the Vic!

‘‘But I have to say I am lucky to have been a midwife. It is so special to be involved when a baby is born and every baby is special in their own way - it is an amazing gift.”

She added: “I have loved every minute of it in here and I will shed a tear or two when Forth Park closes in January.”