£3m boost to baby care unit at Lancashire hospital (From Lancashire Telegraph)

£3m boost to baby care unit at Lancashire hospital (From Lancashire Telegraph).

A £3 million investment programme has been announced for local sick and premature babies.

Royal Preston Hospital will create an additional 13 neonatal intensive care, high dependency and special care cots to bring its total complement up to 34.

The investment will lead to a 60 per cent increase in neonatal cots in the area.

Building work will begin in the New Year and is expected to be completed later in 2010.

Extra nursing and medical staff will be recruited to the Neonatal Unit to meet the increased demand.

Tony Curtis, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Neonatal provision across the region can be stretched at times and this 60 per cent increase in cots at Royal Preston Hospital will ensure more babies can receive specialist care nearer to home.”

The unit currently has a total of 21 cots including seven intensive care cots and 14 high dependency and special care cots.

The expansion will increase capacity to eight intensive care cots and 26 high dependency and special care cots.

Almost one in ten babies born at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital requires specialist neonatal care.

The youngest baby admitted to the unit was 23-weeks old.

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