Southampton's pioneering neonatal unit features on ITV's Good Morning Britain

ITV feature on NNU (2)

Staff, parents and patients in the pioneering neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Princess Anne Hospital marked World Prematurity Day today by participating in a live broadcast for ITV's Good Morning Britain.

The day is supported internationally and aims to raise awareness of premature birth and the complications it can cause.

GMB reporter Richard Gaisford visited University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to find out more about the facilities and care available at the Princess Anne Hospital following a report published today by the charity Bliss which raised concerns over a lack of support for families at some neonatal units in England.

During his visit, he met parents Simon and Stacey who told him how crucial the facilities at UHS are for them and their baby Indie.

In May, the NICU in Southampton became the first in the UK to be recognised by Bliss for delivering the highest standards of family-centred care for premature and sick babies.

The state-of-the-art unit, which has 36 cots, 20 intensive/high dependency cots and 16 special care cots, is one of the largest in the country, admitting around 750 babies a year from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Wiltshire and the Channel Islands.

It was refurbished in 2006 to provide a bright, welcoming and spacious environment for babies and their families and offers a range of specialist services including neonatal medicine, surgery and cardiac care.

Caroline Davey, chief executive of Bliss, presented staff with a Bliss Baby Charter plaque and certificate marking the achievement, which followed a two-year audit period.

The Bliss Baby Charter was developed by the charity to help hospitals caring for premature and sick babies to assess the quality of family-centred care they provide and identify areas for improvement.

In addition, Lisa Leppard, family care sister on the unit, received a separate honour - the 2016 Bliss Improving Care award - in July in recognition of the department's accreditation and work to improve care for babies born prematurely or sick.

Dr Victoria Puddy, lead consultant neonatologist at UHS, said: "This has been a remarkable year for the neonatal team in Southampton and I am delighted for all of our staff and patients - past and present - and their families that our service has been recognised so prominently.

"Being the first Trust to receive Bliss accreditation means a great deal to all of us and it ensures all of our families know they will receive the highest possible standards and quality of care during their time with us."

Fiona Lawson, NICU matron, added: "Today we supported World Prematurity Day by opening our doors to Good Morning Britain after being selected by Bliss as an example of the type of care and facilities they want to see nationwide and I would like to extend my thanks to all of the staff and families who helped to make it happen."

Watch the news item.

Posted on Thursday 17 November 2016