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Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ pioneering ‘BabyView’ video link system has scooped two prestigious health awards after ‘wowing’ judges.

The state-of-the-art system, now in operation at our Neonatal Intensitve Care Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary, was named both a category and overall winner at the PEN (Patient Experience Network) National Awards.

The BabyView video link allows neonatal staff to send detailed and close-up images of infants directly to parents or relatives throughout the world.

Mum and dad are then able to see baby on a PC screen, iPad, tablet or smartphone, simply by accessing a secure web address on their internet browser or by downloading an app.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ volunteer End of Life Companions scheme, which trains volunteers to sit with patients who are approaching the end of their life, was also nominated in the PEN awards Personalisation of Care category.

Assistant Chief Nurse, Shelley Bailey, said: “We are all absolutely thrilled that BabyView has won such a prestigious national award. It’s a fantastic accolade for a project which is making a huge difference for families.”

Voted overall winner

BabyView was named winner of the PEN awards’ Innovative Use of Technology and Social Media category, before being voted overall winner by judges and fellow award nominees after a presentation given by staff at the awards ceremony, held at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre.

There are about 600-700 admissions to the Neonatal Intensive care Unit every year, some from hospitals across the north of England, with the majority admitted minutes after delivery.

This means that the babies – some of whom are critically unwell – may spend most of their first few days away from their parents, while their mums are recovering in the delivery suite or postnatal wards.

“This is a very distressing time for parents and the challenges of not getting to see the babies as early or as often as they would like to disrupt early bonding, influence early expression of breast milk and adversely affect their overall experience in the hospital,” added Shelley.

A PEN spokesman said both judges and awards ceremony attendees had been “wowed” by the “powerful and emotive” scheme.

The spokesman added: “The project puts families and sick children at its very centre and brings staff from across the organisation together to address key challenges and deliver outstanding outcomes for patients, families, staff and Bradford Teaching Hospitals itself.

“The project is eminently transferrable – using, as it does, existing video technology to connect patients, families and staff. Both judges and attendees were impressed with outcomes and the incredible difference it has made to peoples’ lives for moderate investment.”

An audience member at the awards ceremony said: “Just amazing. I wonder why no-one thought of this before...”

BabyView is the brainchild of Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ Consultant in newborn care, Chakra Vasudevan, and Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Carol Hudson.

Showcasing incredible work

Chakra said: “The award is very welcome, particularly if it helps more families benefit from BabyView and the expertise our amazing team now has. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to showcase the incredible work going on throughout the Trust.”

Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust Medical Director, Dr Bryan Gill, said: “This prestigious award, and the nomination for our End of Life Companions scheme, recognise the great work being carried out across our hospitals.

“As a former consultant in newborn care myself, I’m aware of the impact a baby being apart from its family at a very difficult time can have. BabyView is making a real difference to families at a critical time in their lives.”

The system has been generously funded by the Bradford Hospitals Charity, and is Trust controlled and encrypted, which makes it safe and secure.

Charity Fundraiser, Hayley Collis, said: “The BabyView scheme is a heartwarming one and typifies how the charity and Trust are working together to invest in state-of-the-art technology which benefits patients and their families.”

Feedback from parents about BabyView has been 100% positive. One mum said: “I was in a different hospital to my baby for three days and this eased the anxious feeling.”

Another added: “I used this at night-time and could see that my baby had settled before I went to bed.”