Neonatal Unit wins prestigious award

The neonatal unit at Royal Stoke University Hospital has received the first Parents' Choice Award from Bliss, the UK's leading charity for babies born premature or sick.

The Royal Stoke University Hospital was nominated for the Bliss Neonatal Excellence Award by Kim Wheat whose baby, Bonnie-Flo, was born eight weeks premature weighing only 3lb 5oz. Kim believes the team deserves the award because they encouraged her and her partner to be fully involved in their daughter's care and provided clear instructions and communication.

Kim said: "My daughter spent just over five weeks in the NICU and as first time parents this was a scary and confusing experience. The NICU team at Royal Stoke went above and beyond to explain everything about my daughter's care and progression in detail. From day one, all the hospital staff encouraged us to take part in Bonnie-Flo's cares. They taught us how to change a nappy through the incubator and how to feed using a nasal tube.

"Lesley, the breast feeding specialist was very encouraging and helpful. My baby is nearly a year old and I am still breastfeeding thanks to Lesley's efforts and encouragement. The NICU nurses made sure myself and the father were involved in as much of my daughter's care as we could be, they encouraged this and taught us how to feed her with her nasal feed. They would also engage in normal conversation during the days and nights I spent by Bonnie-Flo's bedside, particularly during my stay towards the end of my baby's NICU journey as I was given a room to stay in once my baby had learned to breastfeed."

Lynn Keilty-Woolcock. NICU Matron, said: "We're pleased Kim and baby Bonnie-Flo are doing so well. Having a baby stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a stressful time for all the family. Our staff care for both baby and family and support them towards taking baby home. This award is hugely deserved by all the staff on the unit and we're delighted to receive it."

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: "We have introduced our Neonatal Excellence Awards to recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals, teams and projects that make a real difference to babies born premature or sick through delivering high quality family-centred care as part of the Bliss Baby Charter. More than 160 units across the country use the Bliss Baby Charter every day to develop meaningful improvements to care that benefit babies and their families. We are tremendously excited to present our first Parents' Choice award to the team at Royal Stoke University Hospital in recognition of their excellent work."

The Bliss Neonatal Excellence Awards were held in Manchester on 12 March.​