A new state-of-the-art neonatal unit is now fully operational at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill after an investment of over £8.5 million by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
The revamp includes increasing the number of cots by 25% and doubling the unit’s intensive care / high dependency capacity.
The space around the incubators has been increased four-fold, giving room for both parents to sit by their baby, with a clearly defined personal space marked by different floor colouring.
The space was planned prior to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, but has had the timely benefit of making social distancing in the unit far easier.
Around 500 premature and sick babies need neonatal support at East Surrey Hospital each year.
The unit now has a comfortable expressing room for parents, a quiet room for when people would like to step out of the clinical environment, and two side rooms with en-suite facilities.
Additional state-of-the-art incubators, which allow parents to record their voice, heartbeat or a story for their baby, have also been added.
Pendants attached to the ceiling now hold vital equipment such as monitors, pumps and computers, leaving the floor space clear and uncluttered. The equipment can easily be moved to allow parents greater access to their baby.
All incubators and cot spaces have a natural light source, in addition to new lighting with sensitive controls meaning that babies gradually gain awareness of day and night to aid their development.
Thanks to separate funding from SASH Charity’s Olive’s Appeal, there is bespoke décor throughout, to offer a friendlier and less daunting environment.
The charity funding is also being used to create an additional family room and to purchase additional top-of-the-range incubators.
Olive’s Appeal is named after a now happy and healthy four year-old who spent the first 110 days of her life in neonatal care at the hospital.
The appeal, which has already raised over £100,000, is continuing to ensure the new unit is kitted out with extras that go over and above for families.
Ingrid Marsden, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust’s neonatal matron, said: “This new unit is already making such a difference to new parents and their babies.
“It’s so modern and spacious – parents and staff are delighted.
“The enhanced equipment makes the experience for babies and parents much better, and with the support of SASH Charity we’ll be going even further.”
Michael Wilson, chief executive at the trust said: “We provide care for 4,500 births every year so it is vital that we have the very best facilities for those who need extra support.
“We now have a genuinely five-star unit and we are delighted to have been able to create it for local families.”
The new unit was discussed at the trust’s annual general meeting last week, with a presentation by Dr Avinash Aravamudhan, lead consultant paediatrician – video below.