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The Glasgow Neonatal Unit

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

This is a story about a policy change in the Neonatal Unit of The Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. That might sound like a technicality but it’s fundamental, a change in the shared beliefs that guided the way care was provided.

It has seen parents (the customers in this situation, at least the customer group old enough to speak) controversially taking the lead in the treatment and nursing of their premature and sick babies. Despite the perceived risks, this has had a profound positive effect on the lives of the babies, the families and the culture of nursing and care in the unit.

While some changes on the unit are the direct suggestions of parents, the new policy is not a matter of implementing a list of requests. It is a culture of listening to families and understanding what they really value and need from neonatal support, then taking the initiative in providing a radically different form of care by being innovative and by empowering colleagues.

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