Premature babies born in Herefordshire are being helped to go home earlier thanks to specialist support from Wye Valley NHS Trust’s neonatal team, which is celebrating one year since its launch.

100 premature babies have gone home earlier from Hereford County Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) in the last 12 months with the support of the neonatal outreach team. 

The Trust’s neonatal outreach service, which launched in May last year, provides specialist training and support for parents while their baby is being cared for in SCBU. This includes various aspects of caring for a pre-term baby, such as tube feeding and weight monitoring. 

Many parents are now able to take their baby home around a week earlier with this training and support, and with visits that continue at home from the neonatal outreach team along with  telephone support.

Mum Ceri Pailing, who is receiving support from the neonatal outreach service, said: “Emrys was born prematurely at 31 weeks and thanks to SCBU and the neonatal outreach service we were able to bring him home at 35 weeks old.  

“The nurses have all been wonderful.  We were trained on how to tube feed before we came home and they discussed how the outreach team works. They have been on hand since we got home to call or visit us when needed.  It’s made such a difference to bring Emrys home earlier for us as a family and he got to meet his twin brothers for the first time a little sooner”.

Elaine Evans, ward manager Special Care Baby Unit at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the one year anniversary of our neonatal outreach service, which is giving parents the skills and confidence to choose to take their baby home earlier with the right support in place.

“Once babies are ready to go home safely with this support, our specialist neonatal nurses visit the families at home and also provide telephone support, depending on the needs of the family.

“This is a significant step forward for our maternity service in Herefordshire and is part of a number steps we are taking to further enhance the care, support and choices available to parents and families”.

Mum Ceri Pailing holding baby Emrys Powell during his stay on the Special Care Baby Unit at Hereford County Hospital, before being discharged home earlier with support from the neonatal outreach service.