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January 2013 

Laura Trott opens hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Double gold-winning Olympian Laura Trott will return to the hospital which saved her life more than 20 years ago.

The Essex track cyclist who shot to fame during the 2012 Olympics was born at Princess Alexandra Hospital and spent her early days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after suffering from a collapsed lung.

Since November 2011 the hospital has spent one million pounds rebuilding and updating the unit to provide the very latest in intensive care for babies born in the Harlow area.

Ms Trott was asked to open the unit because of the special relationship she has with the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Laura said ‘I am thrilled to be a part of this momentous opening. The work that the staff do here is amazing’.

The NICU development replaces the hospital’s existing neonatal unit and includes almost 300 square metres of extra space. The expansion allows for more life-saving technology and offers parents greater comfort and privacy. The Unit cares for over 400 babies every year. By developing the unit, less babies will need to be transferred to neighbouring trusts, therefore enabling parents to be nearer to their children and visit without inconvenience.

In addition to the new development the hospital has also been holding an appeal to raise money to equip the unit.

Deborah Twist, Head of Children’s Services said: ‘I am overwhelmed with the generosity of local people. They have raised around £80,000 in donations which has made a massive difference to the life-saving equipment we could buy for the unit. It is wonderful to have such a fantastically equipped unit so that the staff can deliver care in the best setting’.

Representatives from BLISS, the charity for sick and premature babies, will also be on hand to endorse the unit. Julia Kouyoumdjian from Bliss said ‘In England alone 54,000 are born prematurely each year and one in every nine babies born needs specialist hospital care, that’s one every six minutes being admitted to special care. Some babies may have an infection and need antibiotics; others need breathing support or monitoring, or may be suffering from other medical conditions. Having such a new and well equipped unit here in Harlow is wonderful for people in the area’.

Laura said she was honoured to open the unit.

Laura Trott with the CEO