Appeal to expand neonatal unit’s family room at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital

PUBLISHED: 08:26 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 02 August 2018

Max Doggett at five days old. Picture courtesy of the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

Max Doggett at five days old. Picture courtesy of the East and North Herts NHS Trust.


With an appeal launched to help raise £338,000 to expand the neonatal family room at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, a dad whose son was born 12 weeks prematurely has spoken of the desperate need for this improved facility.

Kelly and Glyn Doggett with their children Max and Theo. Picture courtesy of the East and North Herts NHS Trust.Kelly and Glyn Doggett with their children Max and Theo. Picture courtesy of the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

Kelly Doggett, who lives in Hitchin, began having complications with her pregnancy at 28 weeks and her son Max was born prematurely in August 2013, weighing just 3lb.

He spent eight weeks in Lister’s neonatal unit - which cares for premature and sick newborns - and Max’s dad, Glyn, said: “The experience was a complete shock.

“The pregnancy had been going smoothly until Kelly experienced some bleeding. She was admitted to Lister’s maternity unit and after a few days went into labour.

“The experience was a massive rollercoaster of emotions and we could not have got through it without the expert care of the nursing staff.

“Your life becomes centred at the hospital. I remember, particularly during visiting hours when our parents would come, just how cramped the tiny family room would become.

“The family room was a place to try and relax, get a cup of tea and talk about what was going on, but if you wanted quiet time this was difficult as the room was small.”

Max is now a thriving five-year-old and Glyn is chairman of the Lister Neonatal Unit Families Group, fundraising for the unit in his spare time.

Supported by the hospital’s own charity, he and the group are raising funds to extend the family room to provide a much larger space that will include a play area, kitchen and the addition of male shower facilities.

Glyn said: “The care given to our children by the doctors and nursing staff in the neonatal unit is amazing, but we would like to make the experience a little more comfortable for families like us and give something back to the unit that helped us.”

Deloris Brown, deputy nursing services manager for neonatal, said: “With an average stay of 10 weeks in our neonatal unit, our hospital often becomes a second home for families.

“The current family room is small, lacks cooking facilities and can only accommodate six visitors. Demand for the room is more than the capacity we have.

“At a time when parents don’t want to be away from the unit much, a new family room would make a world of difference to them.”

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