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Neo natal care fears allayed

PUBLISHED: 09:09 10 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:16 03 July 2010

PLANS to end local care for premature babies appear to have been dropped, to the relief of local hospitals.

There are plans to change neonatal services in the region, which could have seen the level of care reduced at the James Paget University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

PLANS to end local care for premature babies appear to have been dropped, to the relief of local hospitals.

There are plans to change neonatal services in the region, which could have seen the level of care reduced at the James Paget University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, offer neonatal intensive care - level three - while the JPH and QEH offer high dependency - level two.

In December, it was reported that the strategic health authority, NHS East of England, wants to see more level one and three units but fewer level two units.

The JPH and QEH both feared that their neonatal units would be downgraded, which was the preliminary view from the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Perinatal Network. The changes would have meant about 200 sick babies a year had to travel from the JPH to the N&N. The QEH takes 300 babies, though some are less-pre-mature babies who could still have been cared for in a special care unit.

Although a final decision has not yet been made, it now seems that the region's specialised commissioning group may have changed its mind.

John Hemming, JPH chairman, said: “After a lot of representation, discussion, pressure and work, we seem to be working towards a rela-tively satisfactory status quo where we would retain our level two status.”

QEH spokesman Richard Humphries said the hospital had also had indications that they would be able to continue the current service.

No one from the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group was available to comment.

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