The first set of plans for a new state-of-the-art unit to care for very sick and premature babies in North Wales have been approved by the Welsh government.

The outline business case for the new Sub Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Centre (SuRNICC), which will be based at Glan Clwyd Hospital, has been given the green light by the Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford.

The Welsh government has also awarded Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board £500,000 of capital funding to develop the full business case for the SuRNICC, which is due to open by 2018.

The health board has already received more than £1.4 million from the Welsh government to pay for upgrades to electrical infrastructure at Glan Clwyd Hospital and an extra transport incubator for transferring the most critically-ill babies.

A special project board has been set up to lead the scheme, together with a neonatal design group, which includes clinical leads for neonatal care, infection prevention, parent representatives and a range of neonatal staff to develop plans.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said, ‘We have now taken a further step that will help the health board to develop the final business case for the SuRNICC through which we want to provide the best possible standards of care for mothers and babies across North Wales.

‘The state-of-the-art unit is backed by expert advice. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health recommended that the health board should plan to provide neonatal intensive care at one centralised site in North Wales.

‘I look forward to seeing this project progress and the new unit opening.’

Source: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board