The youngest patients at Hinchingbrooke Hospital will now be cared for in a newly refurbished Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).

Babies requiring specialist care will benefit from new facilities, which include a parent’s room and a dedicated space available for any new mum who may be bed-bound so they can be wheeled from the labour ward to be with their baby.

The SCBU moved across to the hospital's Aspen Ward for nine months, while specialist teams refurbished the unit. The ward was stripped back to redesign the overall layout, including installing a new nurses’ station and decorating the staff room and parent room. A dedicated space has been created for immobile parents to spend time with their baby.

Deborah Milham, SCBU ward manager, said: “Our staff, patients and parents have been really good at adapting while we moved our service to another area and then back again. The new unit is fantastic and we are so pleased to be back in and able to make use of the new facilities.

“The parent room is a great addition and the dedicated space for any bed-bound mum to lie with their baby is something that we have always wanted to provide.

"Previously parents would have to sit with staff having their lunch and mums had to be mobile before they could move across to the ward to see their baby, so this really does improve our patient experience for all parents on the unit.”

The unit required work to reinforce the ceiling as part of the ongoing structural improvement works that are taking place across the Hinchingbrooke Hospital site and while the builders were in, the Trust took the opportunity to reconfigure the unit to bring it in line with national standards and provide a better environment for the youngest patients in the hospital.

Arshiya Khan, deputy chief executive and chief strategy and transformation officer, for the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thrilled to provide better facilities for families using our SCBU, while working on our structural improvements at the same time. This is part of a rolling programme to reinforce the roof on the main hospital site.”

Hinchingbrooke Hospital was built in 1984 and is one of four hospitals in the East of England impacted by RAAC, which is reaching the end of its operational life. North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust is currently working on a rolling programme to reinforce the roof on the main hospital site.

The hospital is undergoing redevelopment works, which has been separated into three phases.

Phase 1 of the redevelopment saw the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre increase in size, with an Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU), Ambulatory Assessment Unit (AAU), two mental health support rooms and an increase in Emergency Department space. This was completed in April 2021.
Phase 2 is the construction of the Theatres Block which will be completed in the Autumn 2023.
Phase 3 will look at a new hospital build to replace the main hospital site, which is experiencing increasing issues with RAAC.