Epsom Hospital’s maternity unit is to receive a £318,000 funding boost despite the service being under threat of closure as part of the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review.

The Department of Health has awarded Epsom and St Helier hospitals nearly half a million pounds to spend on improving their maternity units.

Epsom Hospital will receive £318,000 for a new home-from-home, midwife-led birth centre complete with three large birthing pools and sofas, all housed in three separate, custom-made rooms.

During 2011 to 2012, 1,995 babies were delivered at Epsom.  But there are fears that under the recommendations made by the BSBV programme board earlier this month that Epsom and St Helier are in the firing line to lose their maternity units.

The recommendations propose that two A&E and maternity departments should be axed out of those at Epsom, St Helier, Kingston, Croydon and St George's hopsital.

Sally Sivas, head of midwifery at the hospitals, said the funding boost was "wonderful news".

She said: "We’ve invested heavily in recent years to improve our maternity services, from the quality of the environment to the number of midwives on duty.

"However, this new funding will help us to offer women and their partners a greater choice about the type of birth they have, and means we can make those little tweaks to further improve our maternity units.

"We know lots of parents-to-be want to be able to give birth in a relaxed, homely environment, and that’s exactly what we will be able to offer with a new birth centre at Epsom. 

"The midwife-led birth centre at St Helier Hospital has proved to be an amazing success, and now Epsom Hospital will have one too."

MP Chris Grayling said : "It's nice to see some good news for Epsom Hospital and its maternity unit. 

"I hope this is a sign of better things ahead."