Neonatal unit opens

A NEWLY expanded and refurbished neonatal intensive care unit, costing £660,000, is now up and running. The Fledglings neonatal unit at Lister Hospital will treat all newborn babies needing specialist care in Comet country, but eight special care cots wil

A NEWLY expanded and refurbished neonatal intensive care unit, costing £660,000, is now up and running.

The Fledglings neonatal unit at Lister Hospital will treat all newborn babies needing specialist care in Comet country, but eight special care cots will remain at the QEII to support the maternity unit in Welwyn Garden City.

The consolidation of intensive care, high dependency and some special care services at Lister fulfils recommendations made in the Better Care for Sick Children consultation in 2004/05 to help provide the best possible treatment of newborn babies needing emergency hospital care.

Funded by the former Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority, the project to create enough room to house the East and North Hertfordshire Trust's 20 neonatal cots at Lister involved expanding into a new building and making better use of existing space.


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Del Brown, lead nurse for neonatal services, said: "While staff are delighted that these changes will mean families with babies requiring neonatal services will be treated in a more appropriate environment with improved facilities, it is important to stress that most women who want to will still be able to give birth at the QEII. "

Around 90 per cent of babies born at the Trust do not need any specialist care.

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Those women whose babies are not expected to need neonatal intensive care will still be able to give birth at the QEII, where special care facilities will remain on site to cater for babies born at 34 weeks and above.

All ante-natal, post-natal and community midwifery services will continue in their current form.

The Trust's chief executive, Nick Carver, said: "Staff involved in the delivery of neonatal intensive care across the Trust's two hospitals have worked tirelessly to ensure that this project has been completed efficiently and with minimum disruption.

"These changes will mean real improvements for the families of newborn babies who need significant medical intervention in order to survive.

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