Award success for Antrim Area Hospital neonatal team

Neonatal Unit staff members with a baby and the MUM award.

A heartfelt nomination from first-time parents has led to a prestigious award for the neonatal team at Antrim Area Hospital.

It was selected as a regional winner at the Baby Lifeline UK Maternity Unit Marvels (MUM) Awards which provide an opportunity to thank healthcare staff and showcase their commitment to providing the best possible care.

Ahead of the awards ceremony, families were invited to share their experiences of exceptional care which helped to ensure their babies were born safely and given the chance to thrive, often in difficult circumstances.

Reflecting on their experience, the parents who nominated the team in Antrim, said:  “Becoming first time parents is a daunting experience for every couple, but giving birth to a baby at 29 weeks gestation is a trepidation like no other.

“Our firstborn daughter arrived into the world on 21 January 2023 in Antrim Area Hospital after spontaneous pre-term labour. Our 1.4kg child was whisked away to a ward we were unaware existed – the Neonatal Unit.

“I vividly recall walking onto the unit for the first time; startling bleeps and timid cries were soon muffled out by warm hellos and empathetic eyes.

“‘Staff’ isn’t how I would describe the individuals working on that ward; temporary surrogate caregivers, 3am confidantes, protectors of the vulnerable and advocates of life are badges they should wear with pride.

“Individuals so uniquely talented, professional and passionate, that you, as brand new, terrified parents can sleep at night knowing that your tiny baby is being cared for by the NICU team.

“The team that fought in our corner, who enabled us to function and persevere through a complex web of new experiences. A ward which warmed our souls with a plethora of books, delicately chosen works of art, and private rooms of oasis.

“A team which our newly formed family will never forget. I hope that this nomination goes some way in expressing my gratitude, because one million ‘thank you’s’ would never be enough.”

Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Sanjeev Bali, accepted the award on behalf of the Neonatal Unit in Antrim, at the  ceremony which took place in London.

He was also honoured to attend a private reception at Downing Street to celebrate the winning teams.

Reflecting on their success, Sister Karen Devlin said: “We are very grateful to the family who nominated us, and to Baby Lifeline UK, for recognising the team in this way.

“The Neonatal Unit is a very special place, and it is a privilege for us to be able to support our most vulnerable babies and their families as well. This award was made possible by the collective effort of everyone who works in the unit, and I am immensely proud of the team. I want to take this opportunity to offer my thanks to them for everything they do, every day.”

David Tennant, Ambassador for Baby Lifeline, said: “I am proud to support Baby Lifeline’s 2023 MUM Awards to celebrate the incredible stories of heroic healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to deliver babies safely, especially when faced with complications that can be very distressing for parents. As a dad of five, I know exactly what this feels like and how important it is to have these wonderful individuals and teams around you during this time.”

17th November 2023

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