New unit brings expert care for unborn babies to Southend
29 October 2014
The latest and very best of care for women and their unborn child is now a reality at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, thanks to the opening of a dedicated fetal medicine unit.
The unit, the only one of its kind in Essex, is set to become a
leading regional clinical and research centre for the assessment
and treatment of unborn babies.
The state-of-the art suite, which includes seven scanning rooms,
has been made possible thanks to a £400,000 charitable donation
from the foundation set up by world leading fetal medicine expert
Professor Kypros Nicolaides.
Fetal medicine includes the assessment of fetal growth and
wellbeing, the maintenance of fetal health and the diagnosis of
fetal illnesses and abnormalities.
The Southend unit will be affiliated to the world renowned Kings
College fetal medicine centre in London run by Prof Nicolaides,
where women from the local area would have typically been
Subspecialist maternal fetal medicine consultant Mr Mandeep
Singh who trained under Prof. Nicolaides, heads up the new service
and works jointly between the two hospitals.
Scans in the unit will be carried out by research fellows -
consultants who are specialising in fetal medicine - which enables
a more detailed scan to be undertaken resulting in improved
Mr Singh said: "Women with suspected fetal problems are
understandably anxious and rightly require access to specialist
services as soon as possible to understand any problem with baby
and what the possible options are with continuing their
"Having this sort of expertise locally, from finding a problem
through to supporting women in whatever choices they make, will do
much to improve their experience of what can often be a traumatic
and upsetting diagnosis."
As well as the diagnosis and treatment of fetal abnormalities,
the unit is already participating in international clinical
research, including a study into pre-eclampsia, a potentially life
threatening condition for both mum and baby which is often not
diagnosed until late into pregnancy.
Colleen Begg, head of midwifery and gynaecology at the trust
added: "This is a tremendously exciting development of our services
for women here at Southend Hospital which has only been made
possible thanks to the generosity of the Fetal Medicine Foundation
and we are extremely grateful both for the donation and Prof
Nicolaides' personal help in establishing this unit which will make
such a difference for our local population."