More babies to benefit from life-saving neonatal care

Posted on Wednesday 9th November 2016
Dr Tim Watts with Georgie and James Melivlle-Ross after unveiling a plaque to mark the Neonatal Unit extension opening

Dr Tim Watts with James and Georgie Melville-Ross after unveiling a plaque to mark the Neonatal Unit extension.

An extension to the Neonatal Unit at Evelina London Children’s Hospital means that more sick and premature babies than ever before will receive the round-the-clock critical care that they need.

The unit was officially opened at a celebration event on Tuesday 8 November. James and Georgie Melville-Ross, whose twins, Thomas and Alice, were cared for at Evelina London’s Neonatal Unit after being born at 24 weeks unveiled a plaque marking the event.

James is the author of Two for Joy, a book documenting the story of the twins’ dramatic first few months of life, including a 9 month stay at Evelina London’s Neonatal Unit. He said: “The Neonatal Unit enabled us to realise the gift of parenthood. It’s a huge honour to be part of today’s celebrations and to get the opportunity to say thank you to the Neonatal Unit and its incredible people.

“Without the amazing staff here, our story would have only been one page, instead of chapters full to the brim with new experiences and laughter every single day.  We will never, ever forget what they have given us, the joy that we have as a family. 

“But we are aware that we are the lucky ones. Sometimes there just aren’t enough cots to go round. That’s why today’s increase in critical care, intensive care and isolation cots is so important."

The extension helps to address a national shortage of neonatal cots. There are now 22 intensive care cots and 12 high dependency cots in Evelina London’s Neonatal Unit. This is a 50% increase in critical care cots for Evelina London.

Dr Tim Watts, Clinical Lead for the Neonatal Unit, said: “The Neonatal Unit is busier than ever. We care for babies born locally, as well as those from further afield, and this year we expect to care for more than 1,000 babies for the first time.

“The expansion of the unit is an amazing opportunity to extend the care we provide to more babies than ever before, making a serious difference to the outlook for some of our smallest patients.”

Watch the speeches recorded for Facebook Live to hear from Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, James Melville-Ross and Tim Watts on what the extension will mean for Evelina London.