WORK is set to start which will make life easier for babies who need special care at South Tyneside District Hospital.
A £266,760 injection will see the special care baby unit move from its current location within the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields, closer to the delivery suite and maternity unit – making it easier for mums to be with their poorly tots.
The move comes after bosses at the hospital were successful in securing the second-largest slice of a £25m national fund to improve and upgrade maternity units.
Jayne McQuillan, clinical business manager with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that our bid was successful.
“We had already identified the space, so work can start immediately on refurbishing it, and the new unit should be open in the spring.
“It will be more secure, will offer mothers more privacy and will also give us more flexibility to have additional cots if there is demand. It will also mean that our neo-natal nurses on the special care baby unit, who have advanced skills to work with premature babies and those needing extra support, will be better placed to go to the maternity unit and give that help.
“As many mums as possible will be able to keep their babies beside them.”
The £25m fund has gone to a wide range of projects across the country, from building refurbishments to simple measures which improve choice for women and their experience of maternity care.
Applications were approved only where there was evidence that mums and dads wanted the changes.
Bids were judged by a panel which included representatives from the Royal Colleges of Midwives and of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Gill Harris, chief nurse for NHS North of England, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the decisions taken around the bids, and subsequent developments, have truly been based on what really matters to women and their families.
“A woman’s birthing experience, the environment she gives birth in and the first few hours and days spent with her new baby and her family are of critical importance.
“This is not just in terms of early bonding and parenting relationships, but will have a lasting impact on both the continued health and wellbeing of the whole family for many years to come.”