Launch celebrates Special Care Baby Unit and second obstetric theatre | News

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Launch celebrates Special Care Baby Unit and second obstetric theatre

Amy Stubbs cuts the ribbon at launch of refurbished special care baby unit

The Trust’s Maternity Unit celebrated the launch of its refurbished Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and addition of a second dedicated obstetric theatre this week with a virtual ceremony.

Jeremy Hunt MP for South West Surrey and Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford joined members of the Trust’s Executive Team in congratulating all those involved in the project for their hard work and determination to complete the work, despite the pandemic.

The Maternity Unit’s £4million makeover delivers two major improvements in patient experience. The refurbished Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) now has ten dedicated bays where a parent can sleep next to their premature baby’s incubator, while the addition of a second obstetric theatre gives extra capacity and a welcoming setting for women having elective caesareans.

Our SCBU is one of the first in the UK to offer parents the chance to stay by their baby’s side and be more involved in their care. Studies show that this gives enormous benefits, reducing distress for both parents and babies.

Allowing parents to stay close also encourages bonding, builds parents’ confidence in their ability to care for their baby and helps establish breastfeeding.

The addition of a state-of-the-art obstetric theatre is part of the Trust’s ongoing aim to improve patient safety and experience. Both the new theatre and its recovery room put parents welcoming their baby into the world at the heart of their design with attractive and calming decor.

The SCBU’s refurbishment was helped by a hugely popular ‘Closer to Care’ fundraising campaign organised by the hospital’s Royal Surrey Charity. The charity raised over £500,000 over approximately 18 months towards the refurbishment.

Parents of premature and sick babies who had been cared for by Royal Surrey’s SCBU held some fantastic fundraising events to help with the cost, including charity balls, bike rides, 24-hour spin-a-thons and more.

Sadie Elford and her husband Rob, together with friends and family, raised £14,000 towards refurbishing the SCBU after their daughter Sienna was born prematurely.

Sadie said: “Our daughter Sienna was born 5 weeks early, weighing just 3 pounds, and so she needed to spend some time in the SCBU. The care and love both Sienna and we as her parents received while in the unit was truly amazing.

“When we found out that the hospital was raising funds to rebuild the unit to include space for beds for mums to be able to stay with their babies, we knew we had to help. This was the hardest thing for me - leaving Sienna was like leaving a piece of my heart behind. So, we organised an 8 hour spin session and alongside some awesome friends and family, raised £14,000 to help.

“I know having the facilities for a parent to stay by their baby overnight will make such a huge difference to families who require the care from the unit in the future.”

Amy Stubbs, Deputy Director of Midwifery and Divisional Head of Nursing for Women and Children, said:  “SCBU staff understand what a terrifying emotional rollercoaster parents are experiencing in the first few days, weeks and months after the birth of their poorly or premature baby and how normal life is suddenly put on hold.

“By giving parents the chance to stay close to their baby 24/7, hold them and care for them with guidance from staff, we know we can lessen the distress and worry for everyone.

"Parents get a better chance of being able to bond with their baby, there’s more opportunity to establish breastfeeding and a better recovery rate for babies. We can also help build mum and dad’s confidence about caring for their little one’s needs, which can be very daunting when a premature or sick baby is in an incubator attached to lots of wires and tubes.”

Mobolade Smith, mum to Kiki, 4 weeks old, said: “I’m so grateful to the amazing staff on SCBU, everyone was so kind and reassuring when Kiki was born at 32 weeks. It was a very overwhelming and tearful time; unexpectedly having her early. Spending nights at SCBU made me feel more like a mum. The staff were encouraging and incredibly positive. They showed me how to look after Kiki by giving her skin-to-skin cuddles and they helped me not feel scared about picking her up.

“I stayed by Kiki’s side for ten days before we brought her home and having that chance made a massive difference to my confidence. I could see her gaining weight and getting stronger and I had support with breastfeeding, which was so important to me. I’m forever grateful to all the lovely staff who looked after us, thank you so much!”

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