Wishaw General’s newly refurbished Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was officially opened by it’s lightest ever baby on Friday 30 April.
Five-year-old Charlotte Deans – who weighed only 480 grams at birth - cut the ribbon to mark the completion of a £1 million investment in the unit.
Improvements made during the refurbishment included:
- Cot capacity increased from 22 to 29 cots
- A new transitional care unit
- New equipments
- Additional staff
- Investment in staff training
Samuel Ibhanesebhor, NHS Lanarkshire’s consultant neonatologist, said: “Due to increased activity in the unit it was necessary to increase the cot capacity to ensure we could continue to provide the best possible care at the highest level for critically ill babies in Lanarkshire.
“In addition to increasing capacity, the open plan design of the new unit and new equipment makes it much easier for staff to monitor the babies and provide them with the higher level of care that they require.
“Staffing is the most important aspect of ensuring first class quality of care and the investment allowed us not only to take on new members of nursing staff, but also to provide advanced neonatal nurse training to ensure those who complete this course can provide more specialist care.”
Samuel added: "It was very nice to see Charlotte who is very special to everyone here. She is our lightest baby who survived against all the odds and we're delighted she is going to officially open our newly refurbished unit."
Star of the day Charlotte, who is now in primary one at Bothwell Primary, added: “They were going to ask Cheryl Cole or Simon Cowell to do the opening but they couldn’t make it so they asked me instead.”
Charlotte had been born on St Andrew’s day, 30 November 2004 at just under 26 weeks gestation.
It would be a long process for Charlotte and her parents Sarah and Steven, but after more than four months of state-of-the-art care in the neonatal unit, she was allowed home on 25 March 2005, Good Friday 2005.
Mum Sarah, who is a lecturer in prosthetics at Strathclyde University, said: “Charlotte wasn’t expected to survive but she had this amazing will to live and the team in Wishaw were fantastic.
“The care they provide for the children and families, both the physical care to the babies and emotional care to their families, is wonderful.”
Sarah added: “The new investment in the unit is absolutely critical. We certainly had the feeling when we were there that it was at the cutting edge of neonatal care.
“I always felt very privileged we were cared for at Wishaw and I’m always amazed by how many babies there were from all over Scotland.
“With this new investment it must really be an incredible centre of excellence not only for Lanarkshire but for Scotland.
“I’m thrilled that it has secured additional funding to ensure it continues to provide the best level of care possible.”
Wishaw General’s neonatal unit provides comprehensive care for critically ill term and premature babies in Lanarkshire, including intensive care, high dependency, special care and out patient consultation.
The unit is a regional level three facility, the highest level for a UK neonatal unit (NNU) - meaning it provides the full range of neonatal care, with the exception of surgical services.