Blood bikes to deliver breast milk for premature babies in Shropshire
A unique partnership means that new mums who are apart from their premature babies being cared for in Shropshire’s neonatal unit, can still provide them with their breast milk.
The neonatal team at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has joined forces with The Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes to give mums the chance to feed their babies their own milk – even though they are apart.
Occasionally pre-term babies in the neonatal unit in the Shropshire Women and Children’s Centre at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford may be in a different hospital from their mothers, which means that they are unable to feed them.
However, the new partnership with the Blood Bikes – a charity which normally delivers blood products – means that a mother will be able to express her breast milk, which is then collected and transported by the bikers to the neonatal team.
Gina Powell, neonatal sister at Sath, said: “We look after babies that have come from hospitals in Stoke or Wolverhampton for example, and those mums may have had a caesarean section or may not be able to visit in the first instance because they are poorly.
“Breast milk, particularly the colostrum, is the best medicine for a pre-term baby as it will have the maternal immunity within it to protect the baby from infections and illnesses that could be life threatening.
“There are also benefits for the mother as she knows that she can meet her baby’s needs, even though they are separated.
"She will be able to give her baby her milk even if she can’t visit, which is wonderful for both mother and baby.
“We are absolutely delighted that Blood Bikes, which is a charity run by volunteers, can offer this help to our mums and babies; and we are incredibly grateful to them for their help and support.
"This will make a huge difference to them.”
The idea to partner with the Blood Bikes – an urgent volunteer service which provides transportation of blood products, for free, to NHS hospitals across Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire – has already won an award.
The neonatal team consisting of Gina, neonatal consultant Dr Sagarika Ray and neonatal ward manager Sam Davies, scooped the Innovation Award from the Staffordshire, Shropshire and Black Country Neonatal Operational Delivery Network.
It is the second time that the neonatal team at SaTH has won the award.