A NEW £267,000 special-care baby unit has been officially opened in South Shields.
The life-saving department at South Tyneside District Hospital will look after some of the borough’s youngest and most vulnerable patients.
It was opened by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Lorraine Lambert.
The unit is now next to the delivery suite on the ground floor of the maternity block in Harton Lane, making it easier for babies to be taken there after birth and for mothers to keep an eye on them.
Mrs Lambert said: “I am delighted that we have been able to relocate our special-care baby unit to a place in the hospital which is more convenient for families. Its ultra-modern facilities and comfortable surroundings enable our highly-trained staff to give them the very best care and support at what it is a very difficult and stressful time for them.”
The relocation of the unit – mostly for premature babies needing a high degree of care or requiring observation following a difficult delivery – was made possible by a grant of almost £267,000 from a government fund to improve and upgrade maternity wards.
The unit is more secure, offers breastfeeding mothers more privacy, and has room for additional cots if required.
It also means that the hospital’s neo-natal nurses are closer to the maternity unit.
The Care Quality Commission visited the site late last year as part of an unannounced inspection to see how the trust’s patients using various services were being cared for.
Its report confirmed that the trust met all essential standards, and described the unit as “well designed to meet the needs of the babies and their families”.