CHARLES GRAHAM - Great help for parents of prem babies

Our first child had been due to arrive on Christmas Eve, so it came as quite a surprise when she made her debut on November 1!

Happily, despite the eight weeks of prematurity, she got through it unscathed and has grown up to be a fully-functioning adult.

But those first few weeks at Billinge Hospital, as this tiny 3lb 8oz tot lay wired up in what looked like a tupperware box in the special care baby unit, were worrying ones.

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You did learn after a while not to jump every time some heart monitor went off.

But it was especially concerning when we both had to go home in the evenings and leave her there because there wasn’t any accommodation for the parents.

There was a bed so you could spend one night alongside your baby on the day he or she was due to be discharged but that was it.

A quarter of a century later and all that has changed with the launch at Wigan Infirmary of facilities that allow a parent to bed down near to their prem baby.

Sarah Halshall and Richard Darbyshire plus their new-born twins Ben and Poppy were the first to benefit from the neonatal transitional care unit and were delighted with it. A great idea!