Huntingdon baby unit is not being down-graded

THERE has been a lot of publicity recently about the review carried out by the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group of neo-natal and special care for babies in the area who are premature or unwell.

Now these plans have been confirmed I wanted to reassure your readers that the vast majority of local women and babies will continue to get the help they need at the special care baby unit (SCBU) run by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS NHST), which is located at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. There will be no change to the number of total cots available within the special care unit (currently 10).

We fully support the findings of the review. This does not represent a ‘downgrading’ of the unit.

The unit is to be formally designated a special care unit. The smallest and sickest babies who need long periods of highly specialised care will in most cases be delivered at designated neo-natal intensive care units, such as Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Where extremely pre-term babies are born unexpectedly at CCS NHST’s special care baby unit or when babies are particularly unwell, the special care baby unit staff have the skills to stabilise babies and arrange their safe transfer to a specialist unit. In effect, the outcome of the review is to formalise clinical practice generally already in place in Huntingdonshire.

Only a very small number of babies will be transferred to neo-natal units and every effort will be made to ensure that it is the neo-natal unit closest to their home. They will return to SCBU at Hinchingbrooke as soon as they are well enough to do so.

I hope this letter reassures your readers that high quality services will still be provided locally by our extremely dedicated special care baby unit staff .

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Lead paediatrician

Special Care Baby Unit

Hinchingbrooke Hospital