£2.8 million for Oxford Baby Unit

The Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is getting £2.8 million from the government to double the number of intensive care cots.

The unit looks after the most premature babies from across the Thames Valley who need significant medical interventions, life support machines and/or surgery to survive.

The scheme will see an extension being built to the existing unit and will double the number of intensive care cots from 10 to 20. 
Building on the extension could start as soon as the summer with the unit opening early next year.

It's hoped the expansion means they will be able to care for all babies in the Thames Valley Region born before 27 weeks gestation, improve services for babies with complex needs, and give more privacy to families with more space between the cots.

There has been an increase over the last few decades of the number of babies requiring this type of care, and although the unit at the John Radcliffe has expanded several times already, it is now felt that a bigger extension is needed to keep up with current demand. 

The John Radcliffe Hospital is one of the many hospitals across England to receive funding. Elsewhere this money has been spent on new operating theatres, emergency departments and other services as well as new scanners and ultrasound equipment as part of the overall £330 million allocation for England.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

"I want NHS patients across the Thames Valley to get the best care and treatment. We have saved money in central capital budgets this year which means we can spend more money on improving NHS facilities. This will mean that more patients in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire will benefit from the latest world class equipment."

Dr Eleri Adams, Consultant Neonatologist and Director of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said:

"We really welcome this money towards our expansion project for our Newborn Intensive Care Unit. The money will be invaluable in helping us to achieve our goal of providing enough intensive care cots here to treat babies and their mothers nearer to home with the best possible care."