Northwick Park Hospital
Review of Neonatal Unit,
29th June 2022
At 25 weeks Mum went into spontaneous labor and attended Northwick Park maternity. NICU were contacted to brief the parents on what to expect. Dr Ali briefed us. Rather than re-assuring us that although things were difficult; the unit was there to support us, and would do everything they could; the message was, your child is likely to have serious medical difficulties, with lifelong implications and there is a high chance they may die. This made a traumatic situation even more dire, and significantly contributed to the mental health of the Mum and subsequent counselling that was required.
Mum was later transferred to QCCH (due to the gestation of the baby) and delivered there. The baby remained at the QCCH NICU for 2 months, before being transferred Northwick NICU, where they were cared for for 2 months
Given our initial experience with Northwick NICU, we were extremely nervous about having our baby transferred. To help us feel more comfortable Sr Ping and Nurse Belinda gave use a tour of the unit, and an introduction to the Consultant on duty. They were extremely friendly, answered all our questions, and helped us feel a lot more at ease about the transfer.
Key feedback points from our time on Northwick NICU include:
Mum wanted to exclusively breastfeed the baby, and the support provided by Nurse Emma was brilliant. She was encouraging, enthusiastic and made Mum feel relaxed.
A note was made on baby’s chart that Mum did not want to use bottles. Despite this, Mum was repeatedly asked and encouraged to give bottles by other nurses. This was frustrating and upsetting.
After removing the baby’s NG tube, the baby lost weight for the next couple of days. Per discussions with Emma this was to be expected, but as Mum had a more than ample milk supply this would not a concern and would cease when regular feeding was established. Three days after the NG tube was removed, Dr Ali told Mum she would have to top up the baby with a bottle post feed, as the baby was otherwise being starved. This conversation left Mum feeling distraught, particularly as the breastfeeding specialist worked part time and could not be accessed. In the end Mum called the breastfeeding specialist at QCCH, because she felt unable to cope, and there was no specialist available to her at Northwick NICU, due to the role being part time. Following this Mum raised her concerns with Dr Renton. Mum felt heard by Dr Renton and a new plan was arranged, Dr Ali later came to apologise.
We would like to thank the unit for all of the support provided as part of the discharge process.
We felt the staff understood the difficult journey we had had on NICU, and were ready to support us in the best way possible to ensure that when we were discharged we felt ready (thank you for Dr Renton for all he help and support with our journey, particularly in ensuring we weren’t rushed out of the unit).
The time spent in transitional care, and rooming in was brilliant and did a lot to help with our confidence.
On a repeated basis we raised on concerns about how staff and other parents, were not following health and safety measures required as a result of being on a NICU unit and COVID.
Receiving photos on the Badger app was wonderful, thank you to the nurses who took the time to do this, it meant so much to us.
Dr Zieba went above and beyond to ensure that we understood the position regarding our babies brain development. In addition, we appreciated the time he would spend with us on ward rounds to discuss the baby’s current status, the future plan, and whether we were happy with it.
The first aid training course run by Sr Faith and Sr Ping (we attended it twice), was literally life saving. After being discharged from the unit our baby caught COVID and stopped breathing. If we had not attended this course they may no longer be with us. A heartfelt thank you.
Nurse Indera made us feel so welcome on our arrival, and taught us how to look after our baby and helped us to feel comfortable whilst in the Intensive Care room, thank you.
Thank you to Nurse Una for supporting Mum in donating milk to the milk bank.
When briefing parents on the labor ward re-assure them that although things are difficult; the unit is there to support them.
1. offer tours of the unit to parents have babies transferred from other hospitals
2. Provide the fantastic discharge support
Once Mum has established a feeding plan, ensure it is supported by all members of staff, and that they do not push and agenda that is preferable for them.
Have a breastfeeding specialist available to Mums on a full time basis.
Ensure the measures in place for health and safety are enforced.