We were especially delighted to welcome Stars Appeal President Lord Pembroke, who was born prematurely, and Senior Nurse, Ingrid Webb, who cared for him whilst on NICU as a baby, to mark the start of building work for the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
With them were Stars Appeal Chairman Toddy Westropp, senior medical staff and mums and babies who have received care on the existing Unit and know first hand the difference that the new facility will make.
Every year around 300 babies require special or intensive care on the Unit after being born too small, too sick or too soon. The new Unit will be over three times the size of the current NICU. The new parents’ facilities will mean mums and dads can stay close to their babies rather than making daily trips, often in excess of 50 miles.
Lord Pembroke said: “Having received neonatal intensive care myself and having recently become a father, this is a project that is very close to my heart. I am delighted that the Stars Appeal is able to make such an important contribution to the new Unit by providing first class facilities for parents and other enhancements to make the new Unit the very best it can be.”
Ella Todd, whose twin baby girls Bray and Fen received care on NICU after being born 6 weeks premature said: “I vastly and naively underestimated the importance of the NICU, assuming ”it would never happen to me”. It wasn’t on my radar but then, within minutes, it was ‘everything’ to me and to my family. The staff are selfless and sensitive professionals working around the clock - my gratitude towards them knows no limits.”
Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatal Lead Dr Jim Baird said: “We are hugely excited about the Unit, especially the facilities for parents which will make such a difference to the families we care for and, thanks to Stars Appeal supporters, will be amongst the best anywhere in the country!”
The Stars Appeal is contributing over £350,000 towards the cost of family accommodation and other enhancements within the new NICU. The £800,000 Unit will help provide the best possible care for babies born premature or critically ill and will serve south Wiltshire, north and east Dorset and west Hampshire.