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Shadow Health Secretary visits Brighton neonatal intensive care unit

21 June 2016

Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander MP last week visited the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, in a visit organised by Bliss, the premature and sick baby charity.

Bliss was keen for Heidi Alexander to see the important work that the unit does, and learn more about the services and support that Bliss provides for families and health professionals who care for premature and sick babies. Accompanied by Dr Ryan Watkins, Clinical Director of Children’s Services and Consultant Neonatologist, and Neonatal Matron Clare Morfoot from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, the Shadow Health Secretary was introduced to several members of staff and families on the unit, including Brighton-based parents Teresa and Russell Vanner and their baby girl, Darcie, who was born early at 27 weeks’ gestation.

Heidi Alexander MP (second from left) with Teresa and Russell, and Eleanor, a neonatal nurse

TMBU provides specialist care, high dependency care and intensive care for premature and sick newborn babies from across Sussex and the South East. It also provides a service for babies requiring surgery.

This was Heidi Alexander’s first visit to a neonatal unit. She said: "It is clear that the commitment and hard work of the staff on this unit makes a real difference to the life chances and well-being of the babies they care for, and to their families. The care that these vulnerable babies receive has a huge impact on their long-term health and quality of life so investment in neonatal services must be a government priority."

Dr Ryan Watkins, Clinical Director of Children’s Services and Consultant Neonatologist from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We were very pleased to be able to welcome Heidi Alexander to show her some of the vital work our staff provide and to talk about the important role Bliss plays in helping premature and sick babies receive the best possible care."

Bliss champions the right for every baby born premature or sick to receive the best care, and is calling for urgent investment from the government in neonatal services in England, to ensure that this can be delivered.

Caroline Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, said: "We very much welcome Heidi Alexander’s visit today. She has helped to shine a light on the vital work of neonatal units, and highlighted the invaluable role of neonatal professionals in caring for premature and sick babies."

For any media enquiries, please contact Deborah Hyde, Media Relations Officer: 020 7378 5741 or 07956 320 486,


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