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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Families of sick and premature babies get new overnight stay rooms at NGH thanks to community fundraising

MR1479 Chloe Crussell 2 cuts ribbon

Two year old Chloe cuts the ribbon to officially open the rooms with dad Rob Crussell

A community fundraising appeal has raised an amazing £100,000 towards a new accommodation block at Northampton General Hospital for the families of sick and premature babies.

The block is adjacent to Gosset ward – the hospital’s 20-cot neonatal unit – and it was officially opened today (Thursday, March 7) following more than two years of fundraising by Northamptonshire Health Charity.

It was opened by two-year-old Chloe Crussell alongside neonatal staff, and several families who have been supported by the ward. Chloe is the daughter of Rob Crussell, from Northampton, who with his family raised more than £19,000 for Gosset Ward in memory of his son Theo -

NGH Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Nick Barnes, said: “We are delighted that Northamptonshire Health Charity has successfully raised more than £100,000 to pay for our new accommodation block for our neonatal unit families.

“We now have two twin bedrooms with ensuite facilities, called the Bluebell and Poppy Suite, to enable parents to stay overnight and be close to their baby at what is an intensely stressful and worrying time for them.

“We needed some dedicated family accommodation because we support more than 400 families each year with sick and premature babies.

“We are also part of a regional neonatal network and often have to look after babies and support families from across the Midlands who are a long way from home.

“Having the new accommodation has already started to make a big difference to the support we can offer at a critical time in parent’s lives, enabling them to be where they want to be, close to their sick baby. “

Gosset Ward Manager Kelly Mariott said: “Some of our babies are as much as 18 weeks premature, weigh less than a bag of sugar, and stay in hospital for over four months.

“Most will have difficulty with their breathing and feeding, and all require round the clock help with medical care. This places a great strain on parents, who spend many hours each week travelling back and forth to hospital, leaving their baby in hospital at night.

“This can be particularly stressful for parents when their baby is in intensive care. Having the new accommodation will make an enormous difference to the support we can provide.”

Rob Crussell is married to Kate and has two daughters, Elsie, seven, and Chloe, two. Sadly the couple’s son Theo sadly died following Kate having preeclampsia in 2015.

Chloe spent five weeks in Gosset Ward after she was born prematurely at 32 weeks in 2021 and Theo was cared for in his short life by staff from Gosset Ward

Rob said: “Having the parents’ accommodation is just so important. We live close to the hospital but when Chloe was in Gosset I remember talking to parents who were taking the train to Northampton every day from Nottingham to see their baby.

“Having this accommodation will take out all the stress of travel, parking, and that feeling of just not being close at hand at a difficult time. I think it is critically important.”

Matron for Child Health, Michelle Hardwick said: “Little in life could be more upsetting than if your baby is sick in hospital but you have to go home. Being close helps, it helps parents to bond, and eases some of their stress.

“It also helps them feel much more in control and involved in their baby’s care and enables important mother-to-baby care including breast feeding.”

Fundraising campaign was supported by hundreds

Hundreds of local businesses, families who have used the ward, and members of the public have raised money or made donations since September 2021.

The fundraising of £100,000 came on top of £85,000 in Gosset Ward charity funds already available for the project, the two things together enabling it to happen.

Building work was done over last summer and finished in October (2023) when it began to be used for the first time.

Jonathan McGee, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Health Charity said: “I want to say a massive thank you to all those individuals, families, businesses, and supporters of our Gosset Ward Parents’ Room Appeal who have contributed so much to make this happen.

“It has been fantastic to see the support and empathy our local community has for families going through the difficulties they face when they have a baby who is premature or acutely ill.

“We are delighted to see that effort coming to fruition and the fantastic new rooms opening to their first families.”

Posted on Thursday 7th March 2024
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