Meet the first child born at South Shields hospital after its baby unit reopens

Proud parents Jodie Pearce and Jonny Thomas with new baby Lucas.
Proud parents Jodie Pearce and Jonny Thomas with new baby Lucas.

Meet the first child born at a hospital following the reopening of its special care baby unit.

Lucas, weighing 8lb 15oz, entered the world on Monday morning at South Tyneside District Hospital.

He is pictured with proud parents Jodie Pearce, 26, a customer services worker and partner Jonny Thomas, a stevedore, who already have an 18-month son called Layton.

Miss Pearce, of South Shields said: “It was brilliant: I couldn’t fault a thing and the staff were amazing.

"Lucas was 11 days overdue but I’m glad he held on until today otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to have him here where I had such a good experience having Layton.”

Delivery services were shut down on December 4 after the closure of the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) service on November 30.

The hospital said the decision was due to acute staffing pressures within the unit.

But, as we reported earlier on Monday, the difficulties have been resolved for the next three months with work ongoing to provide enough cover after this period.

Dr Shahid Wahid, medical director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to find a safe solution to the immediate staffing challenges in SCBU and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this positive outcome.

“I must stress, however, that the SCBU rota that we have been able to secure is for a three month period only and is once again reliant on the tremendous goodwill of our amazing staff who have pulled out all the stops to get us to this position.

“The safety and wellbeing of the mothers and babies in our care must always come first and we thank patients and staff for their understanding as we have worked through this difficult situation for everybody.

"We will continue to monitor the position on a daily basis to ensure that we continue to have safe staffing in place in the months ahead."

Newly-arrived Lucas is also a brother for eight-year-old Kaiden.