Milestone for QMC neonatal unit expansion plan

  • 18th January 2024

The building work is expected to be completed by the end of this year

Plans to provide an additional 21 neonatal cots at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Nottingham have taken another step towards becoming a reality as construction work has officially commenced on the site.

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) is the main neonatal intensive care service for the region, caring for around 1,000 babies and their families each year at the QMC and at City Hospital.

Currently, the service has to transfer babies out of Nottingham to other hospitals each week, sometimes beyond the East Midlands, as there are not enough intensive care cots to meet demand.

The Maternity and Neonatal Redesign Programme (MNR) will see the QMC Neonatal Unit increase the number of intensive, high-dependency, and special care cots from 17-38.

The project is jointly funded by NHS England and NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) and a series of enabling works have taken place to allow for construction to expand the unit to begin.

These works have seen the paediatric surgical unit within Nottingham Children’s Hospital transformed into a temporary neonatal unit while construction work to expand the facility is carried out.

The move of the neonatal unit to its temporary home has successfully taken place and construction work on the expanded unit will now begin.

The aim is for the new, expanded facility to be completed by the end of this year.

Closer to home

Jenni Twinn, programme director for MNR, said: “It is exciting that we’re now entering the construction phase of such an important and much-needed project.

“The neonatal unit expansion will enable us to accept more babies from Nottingham and the East Midlands who need our care, rather than having to transfer them to another hospital, which often results in families being a long way from their support networks and in extreme circumstances when we have no capacity can lead to the potential separation of twins and triplets.

“In addition, it will greatly improve the environment for families by giving them more privacy while they are staying on the unit, and our staff will be working in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility.

“In turn, this will all lead to an improved experience for our families and staff on the unit.”

A step forward

Lleona Lee, consultant at NUH and clinical lead for the MNR, added: “The Nottingham Neonatal Service strives to provide the best care to babies and their families and now that construction is underway we are taking a significant step forward in being able to achieve this on our new, expanded unit.”

In addition to the Maternity and Neonatal Redesign programme, as part of its Big Appeal, Nottingham Hospitals Charity will be funding several enhancements for the new unit. These include specialist training areas, equipment, and improvements to make the whole environment, particularly the family areas and parent accommodation, as welcoming as possible.

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