Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Alder Hey's Surgical Neonatal Appeal - Summer Update 2023
Because of your support we are delighted to have secured over £2.6 million in donations and pledges towards our £3 million appeal target. This will be used to fund enhancements to our innovative new unit which are above and beyond core NHS provision and will keep families together when they need it most.
We spoke to Jen Deeney, Head of Nursing at the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership to see how plans are going in preparation for the new Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Can you tell us about the new neonatal staff who have been recruited?
We’re delighted that all 23 new neonatal nurses have successfully been through their induction programme. Some of them will be going on to start their postgraduate Qualified in Speciality Neonatal Care training over the coming months. All of our nurses are rotating across Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s Hospital and are working extremely well within the team.
Our educator Jackie has been in post for 6 months now and she is totally focused on our new starters. Jackie was an intensive care nurse at Liverpool Women’s and is a professional nurse advocate, so she brings years of excellent skills and experience.
She supports neonatal nurses on shift, offers training around basic neonatal care, increasing their confidence and offers pastoral support which they’ve found really helpful on their journey with us.
In addition to the neonatal nurses, 4 trainee nurse practitioners started with us in January and we’ve managed to secure funding from Health England for another 4 trainees from January 2024.
What’s the difference between a neonatal nurse and a nurse practitioner?
A neonatal nurse will be at the cot side and is responsible for the holistic care of the baby. A nurse practitioner has more advanced skills and a greater depth of knowledge about diseases and the physiology of the baby. They will be on the medical rota, which means they can often be the most senior person on the shift and can prescribe medications and undertake more complicated procedures.
What other changes are happening in preparation for the new unit?
We’ve increased consulting hours to 8am to 8pm weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends.
What difference is that making?
It’s enabling us to deliver better holistic care and more consistency for our families throughout the week. As well as focusing on surgical needs we can also look at the baby’s wider needs as a newborn.
What progress have you made to integrate new ways of working across Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s Hospital?
We’ve seen an increase in the number of babies at both hospitals, but what’s great is we’re seeing more babies in the appropriate place for their care. We are still having to transfer babies back and forward, but we’re managing the transfers more effectively. It’s not perfect, we’re still not where we want to be and won’t be until the new unit is up and running, but we’re making consistent improvements as we work towards an exciting new model of care which is going to benefit so many babies and their families.
We’re so grateful to everyone who has supported the appeal, you are making our vision a reality and will be changing the lives of families in the North West and beyond. Thank you so much on behalf of everyone at Alder Hey and the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership.
Inspired by the needs of our families - Theo's story
“The new unit will help so many families that will find themselves in a similar situation to me and my family. It will make a massive difference having all of the care and equipment in one place and features such as family rooms. Being a parent to a poorly baby, you want to be with them as much as possible.”
Theo’s mum Julia.
We would like to introduce you to Theo. Theo was born prematurely at 27 weeks in July 2022 at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Following Theo's delivery, he was transferred over 40 miles to Arrowe Park Hospital, where he subsequently caught sepsis and started deteriorating very quickly. He was moved to intensive care and put on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, to ease his breathing difficulties. Theo’s mum Julia said: “The doctors told us they were trying their best, but we weren't sure if he was going to pull through.”
Thankfully Theo recovered and was transferred an hour away to Rhyl's Glan Clwyd Hospital to have scans on his brain, to check that everything was OK. From there, Theo embarked on his next journey, this time back to Wrexham, where nurses discovered a bulge in his groin. An ultrasound scan confirmed he had two hernias that needed to be operated on.
Theo's next journey, a few days later, brought him to Alder Hey. Hernia operations can only be performed at a specialist children’s hospital with full paediatric surgery facilities such as Alder Hey. A few hours after his operation, Theo was recovering well.
Unfortunately, soon after discharge, he became unwell with coughing and breathing issues and was admitted to his local hospital in Wrexham. After a few weeks in hospital, it was noticed that his groin had become swollen again and the hernias had recurred. He was brought back to Alder Hey for a second operation. In all, Theo was transferred between 3 different hospitals a total of 5 times.
Mum Julia said: “Theo having to go back again for surgery was quite upsetting as he had already been through a lot. But I knew he would be okay as he'd been to Alder Hey before and the staff are truly amazing there. They always reassure you and explain everything that's going on.”
His second operation at Alder Hey was successful, and Theo was discharged just one day later before making a full recovery after one week at home in Wrexham with his five brothers: Daniel, Liam, Owen, Finley, and Jaxson.
Theo is now doing ‘brilliantly’ according to mum Julia, who says “he is being weaned down on his oxygen and receiving physio every month, he is a little star!”
Our new Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will reduce the need for transfers between hospitals and help families like Theo's, for many years to come. Thank you for your support in making this possible.
Just some of the other Children's Hospitals we have helped
“On behalf of the staff at Sheffield Children's Hospital, may I express our sincerest thanks for your recent donation of gifts and toys for the children in our care. It was a very generous gift and we are extremely grateful for your donation to us. A significant number of our children and young people will now benefit from your gift.”
The Children's Hospital Charity