Kettering General Hospital (KGH), NHS England (Midlands) and NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board have together agreed to take the precautionary step to change Kettering General Hospital’s designation as a Local Neonatal Unit (LNU), which can provide care for babies who are born over 27 weeks to a Special Baby Unit (SBU), which cares for babies born at 32 weeks and over and need specialist care.
The decision has been taken following on-going assessment and routine clinical quality, safety reviews, as well as feedback received from staff, that showed a need for additional consultant capacity, and training in the care of babies born between 27-32 weeks. The decision has not been taken lightly but will allow Kettering General Hospital the necessary time to address these identified recruitment and training challenges.
All other core maternity services are unaffected, and all parents-to-be should continue to attend Kettering General Hospital for the hospital to work with them to identify the best and most appropriate care for them.
Kettering General Hospital delivers more than 3000 babies a year and the change in designation to a Special Baby Unit will only impact a small number of babies and families and we will monitor this closely in relation the impact of this change.
Jayne Skippen, Chief Nursing Officer at Kettering General Hospital said: “We want to assure all families whose babies may require neonatal care in the immediate future that they will still receive the specialist care they need. Families should still attend the hospital and we will make sure mothers and babies receive the right care and support in the right setting, which could involve being directed or transferred to another hospital, if their baby is born under 32 weeks and needs specialist neonatal care.”
Toby Sanders, Chief Executive of NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board said: “The decision has been a collaborative effort with all organisations working together to make sure mothers and their babies are cared for safely in the most appropriate setting”
Matthew Day, Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning with NHS England said: “The hospital, ICB and ourselves will continue to work closely with regulatory and quality colleagues with regards to safety and care at the unit. Additional training has already begun, and our collaborative clinical assessment is ongoing.”
The hospital continues to work with the East Midlands Neonatal Operational Delivery Network to review the provision of neonatal care in Northamptonshire and the East Midlands to ensure there is sufficient provision for babies aged 27 weeks gestation and above.
As always If anyone has any concerns or questions, they can contact Kettering General Hospital Patient Advice Liaison Service by: Email email@example.com or telephone 01536 493305/ 01536 493306 (Monday - Friday 10am - 3pm) excluding bank holidays.