A PLAQUE was unveiled by First Minster of Wales Carwyn Jones at the officially opening of a hospital’s £18 million neonatal intensive care unit.

The sub regional neonatal intensive care centre (SuRNICC) at Glan Clwyd Hospital will care for poorly and premature babies born in North Wales. The 20-cot unit is part of the North Wales neonatal network, which links special care units in Wrexham and Bangor.

Mr Jones visited the SuRNICC last Thursday; he had approved plans for the unit to be sited at Glan Clwyd Hospital in 2014 following a recommendation from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to centralise neonatal services in North Wales.

He said: “It has been a real privilege to be here today [Thursday] to talk to staff and families about their experiences at the new facility.

“The teams across North Wales have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that the population have new neonatal services that care for sick and premature babies within the region, reducing the number of babies and families having to travel to England for their care.

“The people of North Wales have access to the very best neonatal care and everyone involved should be very proud of their achievements.”

The unit includes transitional care service to help parents of newborn babies spend more time with their infant, a neonatal transport service to ensure babies born across North Wales can access facilities at the unit and on-site parent accommodation.

Neonatal service manager Mandy Cooke said: “The new facilities will help our neonatal team ensure poorly and premature babies, and their families, continue to receive outstanding care in North Wales for many years to come.”