My son Joseph was born 7 weeks early in 2017, I had an emergency C section at UCLH in London following a routine appointment as I had been referred to a consultant there. After two weeks spent in intensive care in UCLH, Joseph was able to be moved to the neonatal unit in Lister to be closer to where we live. 

Having a child on a neonatal unit is an incredibly difficult experience, all you want to do is be at home with your new baby and to have them with you 24/7 but you can’t.  It was especially hard for me as I had a 2 year old at home and I felt constantly torn between being at the hospital with Joseph and being at home with my other son.

The parents and families room becomes such an important place as it meant I could spend time with my other son at the hospital as there are toys etc for him to play with away from the daunting atmosphere of the ward, plus it is a chance for the mums and dads to have a break from the ward when needed and to have something to eat and drink.  Unfortunately the current room at Lister is very small and often you would go there to have a break and there would be no room to sit or it would be too busy for my son to play.

There was also only one small fridge for storing food which wasn’t really adequate, because as a parent of a neonatal child you don’t get any meals provided by the hospital and have to bring your own food in with you as you would be there all day and the only alternative is the hospital canteen which gets expensive eating in there for several weeks and sometime months that people were in there and it is only open for limited hours anyway. 

That’s why I fully understand the importance of the big build project and the benefit that it brings to people already going through a really difficult time, it will make their life’s more comfortable and their time in the unit a bit more bearable.