Maria and baby Mobile 2023 08 22

Special care baby unit at Waitākere Hospital celebrates first birthday

It’s been one year since the new Waitākere Hospital Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) welcomed its first tiny patients.

The new state-of-the-art SCBU has significantly enhanced the care of premature babies, providing a supportive environment for up to 18 babies born post-32 weeks’ gestation who need specialised care.

The unit features sleeping spaces for parents who previously had nowhere to stay overnight. Facilities include a mothers’ lounge, a kitchen and dining area for parents’ use and beds for parents.

The new SCBU was partly funded by $5 million of community donations through Well Foundation.

Ruth Morse, the Director of Fundraising and Communications of Well Foundation, Te Whatu Ora – Waitematā’s official charity, has praised The Trusts for facilitating the SCBU’s upgrade. “We are extremely grateful for the generous funding support of The Trusts which enabled the refurbishment and expansion of this important medical facility for The West community.”

Feedback from families has been overwhelmingly positive, Ruth says. “Parents have been frequently commenting on the welcoming atmosphere of the facility, how grateful they were they could remain in The West and did not have to travel out of the region, and that they could comfortably stay overnight with their babies.”

The Waitākere Hospital SCBU has cared for 350 premature babies, including 20 sets of twins since it opened its doors in August 2022.

One of the first babies to be welcomed into the new facility was Wereta Fernandez-Tukiwaho, born 10 weeks prematurely. Transferred to the Waitākere SCBU at 33 weeks, he received specialist care before being discharged home. Proud mum Maria-del Fernandez was excited to move into the new unit with her newborn 12 months ago. “It’s like a hotel; it’s wonderful,” she said.

Maria recalls it was a surreal time. "But at the SCBU, we felt at home, welcome and cared for. The nurses were amazing- they were so caring and really made a difference."

Today Wereta is a healthy and happy one-year-old.