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September 29, 2005 12:00 PM

A life-saving transportation service for sick babies in the West of Scotland, has a new home at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

New dedicated facilties mean that for the first time the West of Scotland Neo Natal Transfer Service specialist team are now under one roof.

Thanks to the new accommodation, neonatal specialists are now just one phone call away from being scrambled into action to transfer a sick baby between hospitals stretching from the Outer Hebrides and Dumfries, including Belfast.

Another first for the team is the installation of telemedicine technology inthe new base enabling consultants and other specialists to assess the health of the infant before transfer takes place in state-of-the-art incubators.

These incubators, the equivalent of "intensive care units on wheels,"

stabilise the tiny patients before their journey begins in specially adapted ambulances and planes.

They also provide crucial support during the transfer, equivalent to a hospital intensive care unit.

The hospital's medical physics department use their expertise to maintain the incubators and other specialist equipment for the transport service.

Dr Skeoch said: "What we have in place is a seamless progression to move babies by a combination of road and air, with the right people and equipment.

"Within five minutes of receiving one telephone call we can organise everything from ambulance to airplane or helicopter."

In Glasgow alone the number of transportations annually average 750, compared to a national figure of around 1300.

One of the two ambulances on standby is one of four purpose built and specially equipped vehicles introduced earlier this month by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

An important aspect of the new ambulances is their ability to carry twins in two separate incubators.

One of each is based in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, as well as Glasgow, funded by NHS Scotlandat a cost of£940,0000.

The official opening of the new base is being carried out by a couple who are only too well aware of the importance of the service.

Dental nurse Sandra Black (25) and her partner William Bates (45) a taxi driver, who live in Twechar, relied on the special ambulance transport to take their seriously ill baby daughter Misha, to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill from the Princess Royal Maternity, on a number of occasions.

Sadly Misha died last November aged four months, but because of the relationship the couple built up between the family and the transport team, it was decided to ask Sandra, who is pregnant again, and William, to open the new offices.

William said: "After our daughter was born she went through a number of operations and we used the service a number of times to take her between hospitals.

"We think the service is great anyway, and the staff are brilliant. But obviously the new office is going to benefit many parents and babies."


Notes to editors:

The specialist team are neonatal consultants Dr Charles Skeoch and Dr Lesley Jackson, Ann Marie Wilson, the Neonatal Transport Nurse Co-ordinator, and a team of 10 specialist staff.

Around 1300 babies are transferred between hospitals in Scotland every year. Many of them require full intensive care support during the journey, often with two or three senior medical and nursing staff accompanying them.

The Scottish Ambulance Service has introduced the four new specially equipped neonatal ambulances in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen after working with consultants in The Scottish Neonatal Transport Service (NeTS) to design the vehicles and equipment.

The ambulances are equipped to carry two neonatal incubators and will include special breathing and monitoring machines and communications equipment to maintain continuous links with hospital staff.

For more media information contact  0141 305 0305.

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Last Updated: 11 November 2021