15 August 2022
A new unit dedicated to caring for premature or sick babies opens today, Monday 15 August, in Jersey General Hospital.
The opening of the Jersey Neonatal Unit (JNU) marks a key milestone in the refurbishment of the Maternity Unit, which started in August 2021.
The JNU, which has changed its name from the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) to signify that it cares for premature babies and newborns requiring intensive or high-dependency treatment, is double the physical size of the unit which it replaces.
The number of cots within the unit will remain at eight but the additional space improves infection control measures and privacy for parents as well as provides more room for equipment and staff. A waiting room has also been created, which will double as a consultation room enabling clinicians to talk privately with parents.
The unit also features an isolation room for patients who may have Covid or another infectious disease. Meanwhile, a dedicated room for the preparation of medication has been added to the unit as well as a room for mothers to be able to express their milk in private.
Ward Manager Anne Patterson, who has worked on the Maternity Unit for more than 30 years and has managed SCBU for 28 years, said: “It’s been a long project but it’s been worth it. We can’t wait to see what mums and dads think about the unit. One of the best things is the extra space around the cots which will give parents more privacy when they have that special time with their baby.
“Everything looks much brighter and more modern. There is lots of glass which gives staff a great visual of the whole unit. We are really excited about the name change because staff feel that it is more representative of the work that we do.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, as well as families who have had babies cared for by SCBU or who have fundraised for the Maternity Unit, were invited to visit the new unit on Saturday.
The refurbishment of the Maternity Unit has been split into 11 stages to minimise disruption and is due to finish in October 2023. A new high dependency delivery room with ensuite facilities, a learning and development room for healthcare professionals and a family room funded by the charity Philip’s footprints have been completed as part of the refurbishment. The works also included the creation of a staff shower and changing area as well as the decoration of offices.
Head of Midwifery, Dana Scott, said: “The refurbishment of the Maternity Unit is progressing well and it’s wonderful that mothers and their babies are already enjoying improved facilities.”