NHS FIFE has had an extra-special delivery which will help staff offer high-quality care to unborn babies.

Victoria Hospital’s neonatal team now has a newly-developed, advanced pre-term baby simulator which will be used to help them maintain the skills needed to care for their little patients.

Last year, 200 babies were born prematurely in Fife with seven of these arriving at less than 28 weeks.

Staff at the unit raised around £60,000 to buy the baby simulator, named Paul, who is roughly the size of a 27-week-old model baby and, through cutting edge technology, aims to offer a unique and realistic patient experience.

In addition to being used by individual clinicians to practise particular interventions, Paul can also be used by the wider multi-disciplinary team to simulate a variety of emergency scenarios in real time.
NHS Fife’s purchase of the device will also benefit patients outwith the local area as it will be made available to neonatal units throughout Scotland and the north of England to hone their skills and aid quality improvement for patients.

Dr Sean Ainsworth, consultant neonatologist within the Special Care Baby Unit, said providing high-quality care for very early pre-term infants was a complex and time-sensitive process.

“Only a very small number of the infants we see are born at 28 weeks gestation or less, so having the opportunity to regularly maintain and enhance our skills, both as individual clinicians and as a collective, is invaluable,” he explained.

“The device is already advancing our skills and improving the quality of care we provide to this vulnerable young patient group.” 

Tina Low, whose baby, Penelope, is being cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit, welcomed the purchase.

“Our daughter was born at 28 weeks and has been here since December 9,” she said. “After a while, you get to know what is going on and the nurses are really good at explaining everything. You do start to get a bit more comfortable but it’s definitely been a bit of a rollercoaster.

“A few weeks ago we heard about it (Baby Paul) and it was really, really interesting to know what it can do, and what the nurses can do with it. It can only improve things and make things better.”