"Excellent neonatal intensive care"

About: City Hospital campus / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

Copy of letter sent to chief executive of City Hospital, Nottingham:

Peter Homa

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Hucknall Road

Nottingham

NG5 1PB

19th December 2013

Dear Mr Homa,

My husband and I feel compelled to write to you in response to the care we recently received at the Neonatal Unit at City Hospital.

Our twin girls arrived prematurely in September 2013, at 27 weeks and 6 days. Their arrival heralded the start of a long and gruelling journey for them and us which lasted a little over 3 months (we were discharged in early December 2013). Throughout this period the health and well-being of our girls was in the hands of the staff of this unit. We can say, without fear of exaggeration or contradiction, that the care we received was exemplary, professional and sensitive at all times. Furthermore, this was true of all staff on the unit, from the domestic support staff to the most senior consultants.

This is the first time my husband and I have been ‘consumers’ of healthcare. However, as a psychologist and a health services researcher, I have considerable experience of healthcare from the ‘other side of the table’. This experience has shown me time and time again that, despite the best intentions, most areas of the NHS fall woefully short of most patient-centred targets. This was not, however, what we experienced at the neonatal unit. Throughout our time on the unit we feel that the care we, and others, received was equitable; that we were always fully informed; and that shared decision making was the norm. The unit must also be congratulated on achieving truly integrated / holistic care, ensuring that all the clinical, social and emotional needs of parents and their children are addressed.

We felt it was important we write to tell you about our experiences as only too often the feedback received by the NHS is negative. However, as the chief executive of one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country, we felt you should know about your centres of excellence. In our view, the neonatal unit is such a centre. The centre and its staff should not only be celebrated, but also used as an example of best practice.

Finally, we hope that you will be mindful of this feedback when you allocate your budgets in future years. Although exemplary, it was clear to us and other parents that there were areas in which the service could be improved such as facilities to enable parents to have closer and more regular contact with their babies. We appreciate that now more than ever the NHS faces budgetary constraints. However, this would seem even greater reason to invest in areas of excellence (such as the neonatal unit); and areas with the greatest health, societal and financial impact. Given that 1 in 10 babies pass through a neonatal unit and that the care they receive will determine their health and consumption of healthcare through to adulthood, there can be little doubt that further investment in the service would reap dividends.

We hope this feedback is helpful. Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter with us in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Responses

Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch to offer such comprehensive feedback. It is greatly appreciated.

I have shared your feedback with Angela Horsley, our Clinical Lead for Neonatal Services, so that she can ensure this reaches the team at City Hospital.

We would very much welcome the opportunity to talk to you to hear your thoughts on how we can further improve our facilities. Please do contact Liz Wheeler on 0115 9249924 ext 65824 and she will arrange for you to talk to Angela directly.

I hope that your twins are well and you and your family enjoyed your first Christmas together.

Best wishes

Peter Homa, Chief Executive

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