SICK and premature babies are now being cared for at Glan Clwyd Hospital’s new £18 million neonatal intensive care unit.

The Sub-Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Centre (SuRNICC) will care for newborn babies from across North Wales with significant care needs.

Phase one of new neonatal unit project is now complete. The first phase included the construction of the new unit, that features five intensive care cots, five high-dependency cots, and nine special care cots.

The new unit also features a “dedicated” isolation unit, a transitional care service to keep mums and newborn babies together and on-site parent accommodation, helping patients with premature and sick babies to spend as much time with their child as possible.

Neonatal service manager Mandy Cooke said: “We’re delighted to have moved in to the new unit, which will help us provide the best care possible to families from across North Wales.

“It means that all the babies within North Wales who are born premature or sick will receive the highest standard of care possible.

“Our staff take great pride in their work, and the new unit and equipment will help us provide even better care.”

The SuRNICC meets the latest modern neonatal healthcare standards and provides significantly improved facilities for both families of babies on the unit and neonatal staff.

Work to complete the project will continue over the coming months with the refurbishment and kitting out of the former special care baby unit and paediatric departments, as well as minor refurbishment work to the hospital’s maternity unit.

The SuRNICC is to work in tandem with neonatal and maternity units at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor and Wrexham Maelor Hospital to provide joined-up care for sick and premature babies across the area.

Alongside the development, a recruitment drive has taken place in an attempt to bring in specialist staff to provide the “highest quality of care possible”.

Over the last year, five consultant neonatologists have been recruited to work on the unit, alongside a number of neonatal nurses.

Gary Doherty, chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), said: “The opening of the new-build phase of the development is a huge milestone in this project, and will help our staff to provide sick and premature babies from across North Wales with the best possible start in life.

“I want to thank the team who have worked tirelessly on making this happen for their efforts, and look forward to seeing the project continue to progress over the coming months.”

Babies who are sick or born early from 27 weeks’ gestation will be cared for on the unit and where possible, mums-to-be with very early or complicated births will be booked to deliver their baby at Glan Clwyd Hospital. For families with a baby on the unit who live closer to Wrexham Maelor Hospital or Ysbyty Gwynedd, arrangements will be made to transfer their baby back to their nearest neonatal unit once their condition improves.