Construction work to expand neonatal unit at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital is under way

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lister Neonatal Big Build extension. From left, nursing services

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lister Neonatal Big Build extension. From left, nursing services manager Deloris Brown, Lister Neonatal Unit Families' Group chairman Glyn Doggett, East and North Herts NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver, families' group committee member Lauren Paine and neonatal consultant Jonathan Kefas. Picture: East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity. - Credit: Archant

Construction work has begun on an extension to the neonatal unit at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital that will offer parents a ‘home from home’ while their sick babies are being cared for there.

The Lister Neonatal Big Build Appeal was launched in August 2018 by the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity and Lister Neonatal Unit Families’ Group to raise the £410,000 needed to fund the extension. It has so far raised £350,000, enabling building work to start.

The expanded families’ room will increase capacity to allow more families to use the space – from six people to 30, when social distancing restrictions allow.

It will include a designated play area for siblings, accessible gardens to relax in, and cooking and showering facilities so parents do not have to leave the neonatal unit.

Glyn Doggett, chairman of the families’ group, has first-hand experience of the neonatal unit after his son Max was born 12 weeks prematurely in 2013, weighing just 3lbs. Referring to the improved facilities, he said: “This is going to change the experience for parents beyond anything we could possibly imagine. There will be so much space, it will look so much nicer and there will be cooking facilities.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has donated, and to the charity and hospital staff for supporting all of us in the families’ group through the appeal.”

Deloris Brown, nursing services manager at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister, said: “Many of our parents spend hours by their baby’s side on the neonatal unit. It can be extremely stressful, so to have somewhere they can go to relax for a short period of time will be of enormous benefit.

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“The new families’ room will make such a massive improvement to the quality of care and the parents’ experience while they are with us.”

The building work is due to be completed in October.

The hospitals’ charity and families’ group are now spearheading a renewed drive – under the social media hashtag #BigBuildFinalPush – to raise the remaining £60,000 to fund interior fittings, the garden area and extra comforts.

To donate to the Big Build Appeal, visit

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