John Hunter Hospital puts finishing touches on neonatal unit

Gladys Berejiklian and parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald tour the new neonatal beds at John Hunter Hospital on Friday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersJohn Hunter Hospital’s revamped Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be fully operational early next month, providing care for newborn babies from Newcastle to the Queensland border.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian opened the last stage of the $25 million, three-year project on Friday, touring 10 new intensive care beds which will start accepting patients in June.

The NICU opened 32 new special care spaces in 2016 along with a palliative care room, showers, a breast feeding or expressing room, new waiting area, three counselling rooms and a family room with overnight accommodation.

The first instalment of the $18 million stage two, 12 intensive care spaces, opened in March this year.

The unit cares for more than 1100 premature and sick newborns each year and is one of the largest neonatal units in NSW.

“It’s been amazing to see the new unit working and to see families actually using the facilities,” Ms Berejiklian said after meeting parents and staff at the NICU.

“It’s wonderful to see how the centre is making a difference already.”

The unit includes a webcam system, dubbed NICView, on moveable arms attached to each cribtoallowfamilies to check in on their babies 24 hours a day.

The cameras were installed last year after the hospital’sKid’s Club successfully appliedfor a $186,000 grant from theNewcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

“This world-class facility,which is now twice the size,will enable our wonderful NICUstaff to continue to care for the region’s youngest patients well into the future,” MsBerejiklian said.

“The NICU expansion is part of a NSW government commitment of more than $7.7billion over four years towards upgrading and building new hospitals and healthservices across the state.”

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