A NEW unit has opened at a Hampshire hospital which allows mums to stay with their newborns even if they require extra care.

The transitional care unit has been launched by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH), as well as the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, which the trust also runs.

Royal Hampshire County Hospital RHCH exterior stock. Wednesday 17th September 2014..Royal Hampshire County Hospital RHCH exterior stock. Wednesday 17th September 2014..

Janice Mackenzie, the trust’s associate director of maternity and women’s health, said: “In the past, babies who need a little bit of help after being born have been treated in our neonatal units, but this means separating them from their mums at the end of each day.

“It is really important to keep babies with their mums if at all possible, so we are very pleased to have been able to open these transitional care units.”

Transitional care is suitable for babies who are well enough to be cared for outside of the neonatal units but require medical treatment such as phototherapy for jaundice or intravenous antibiotics.

Mothers on the units will receive support from trained maternity and neonatal staff, while their babies continue to be monitored by specialist paediatric medical teams.

Esme Hacker spent a week on the neonatal unit at the RHCH after being born premature at 34 weeks and was one of the first babies admitted to the transitional care unit.

Jen McDonald-Reade, Esme’s mum, said: “I found being away from Esme really difficult, there were a lot of tears during the time she was on the neonatal unit.

“The transitional care unit has made a huge difference and I think that being together the whole time is helping both of us.”