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Special care baby unit opens at North Shore Hosp.

Media release 29 September 2003

Special care baby unit opens at North Shore Hospital

Premature and sick babies will be able to be cared for at North Shore Hospital with the opening next week of a new special care baby unit (SCBU).

Located in the hospital’s maternity unit, the SCBU will initially have eight cots before increasing to 12 by February next year.

SCBU clinical nurse leader Donna Neal says the unit will be a level 2 unit, meaning it can care for new-born babies 32 weeks gestation or older and over 1500 grams.

Babies requiring more intensive care will still be transferred to National Women’s Hospital. However, once they reach 32 weeks and no longer need intensive care they will transfer back to North Shore Hospital.

Mrs Neal says the SCBU will have 24-hour, seven day a week medical cover from a team of six consultant paediatricians. There will also be an experienced neonatal nurse on duty at all times.

“More than half of the nursing team has worked at either National Women’s or Starship so the experience and expertise in terms of both neonatal and paediatric nursing is extensive.

“The six paediatricans bring with them experience in both Level 2 neonatal and general paediatric settings. This expertise enables North Shore Hospital to develop further paediatric services in future.”

Mrs Neal says Waitemata DHB has been working closely with Auckland and Counties Manukau DHBs in the planning and development of the new SCBU through a regional service planning process. These links will be maintained following the opening of the unit.

The SCBU has also been strongly supported by local North Shore community groups through the North Shore Hospital Foundation.

An over-night parent accommodation room and a family room have been fitted-out with furniture, bedding, kitchen utensils, television and video.

Community groups have also raised funds for equipment such as breast pumps, incubator covers, phototherapy masks and change tables, and donated knitted clothing.

Ends

MORE…

Background information on North Shore Hospital’s special care baby unit

- Higher level planning for a SCBU at North Shore Hospital started in 1999/2000 when Waitemata Health (now Waitemata DHB) put together its business case for a $120 million redevelopment programme. It is linked to a regional review conducted by the HFA in 1997.

- The SCBU will open as an eight cot unit and increase to 12 cots by February 2004

- It will care for premature and unwell babies from 32 weeks gestation and weighing around 1500 grams

- There will be 24-hour cover by Starship paediatric consultants

- Babies requiring more intensive care will still be transferred to National Women’s Hospital. However once they reach 32 weeks and require less intensive care they will transfer back to North Shore Hospital

- For ease of access the SCBU is located between the birthing suite and the maternity suite

- It has a comfortable overnight stay room for a mother/parent who has a baby causing concern or is just about ready to go home

- There is a comfortable mothers’ room for mums to have a rest between feeds

- The family lounge has tea and coffee making facilities, plus toys for siblings to play with

- An oasis courtyard is situated between the ward and SCBU for families to relax in.

- When the unit opens on October 6 it expects to have any babies already at National Women’s Hospital reaching its criteria to transfer back.

- This is good news for the local community – for the first time local families will have access to special care neonatal services in their own community.


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