Changes to Local Neonatal Intensive Care at Southend Hospital

April 25, 2024

Mid and South Essex Trust, which runs the three hospitals at Basildon, Broomfield and Southend, wants to make a permanent change to the location of neonatal intensive care cots. This would mean planning for some babies to be delivered at Basildon or Broomfield, or being transferred in a special ambulance if the baby was born at Southend, but needed intensive care. Some babies need to be cared for in special care cots (SCBU) - this will not change. The very smallest babies are already cared for in hospitals outside Essex.

This would affect a very small number of cases, about 14 out of the 3500 deliveries at Southend every year. There are just enough admissions to the neonatal cots to keep the skills of clinical staff up to date, but it does mean consultant paediatricians have to be available at all times for unplanned admissions. The neonatal cots are only used 19% of the time. Basildon and Broomfield Hospitals have enough capacity to care for babies from Southend.

This change would allow consultant paediatricians to spend more time in the Children's Accident and Emergency, and paediatric assessment unit, where GPs refer children. Doctors and nurses across the East of England agree this is the best thing to do.

If you have experienced maternity services at Southend recently, we'd like to hear your thoughts. Healthwatch Southend is the independent voice of local people who use NHS and social care services. We use your feedback to inform plans for such services and seek improvements.

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