Medical engineers at NUH design new incubator to transport neonatal babies | Latest news

Medical engineers at NUH design new incubator to transport neonatal babies

A new, bespoke neonatal transport incubator has been designed and developed by the Medical Engineering team at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) to help transport critically ill babies around its sites when surgery, scans or treatments are required.

The Neonatal Critical Care Movement System (N-CCMS-1) is a custom-designed trolley to accommodate all the essential life support equipment for transporting critically ill babies. Designed in collaboration with the clinical team, and mirroring the medical equipment utilised in NUH’s Neonatal Units; the system ensures a seamless transition of care, enabling the clinical team to provide the same standard of care during transport. It will be used to transport pre-term and full-term babies to theatres for surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, and to NUH’s Children’s Hospital as needed.

With no similar system available on the market, Aiden O’Brien, Clinical Engineer, and Dave Clay, Workshop Manager, in the NUH Medical Engineering team were commissioned in February 2023 to design and develop a solution ahead of the NUH Neonatal Unit move seven months later. Following months of intensive collaborative effort between the engineering team and clinical staff, the new equipment was available and successfully used for the Neonatal Unit move in September 2023.
Image of the travel incubator and staff from NUH
The Neonatal Unit move was been a key milestone of the Maternity and Neonatal Redesign (MNR) programme, which will see the expansion of neonatal facilities at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).  To enable this expansion, the old Neonatal Unit was temporarily moved to within the Nottingham Children’s Hospital Surgical Unit (NCHSU) on B Floor in West Block. During this time, 12 babies and their families were successfully relocated, with the N-CCMS-1 being a key piece of equipment used to facilitate the move. 

Amy Morley, Critical Care Sister on both the City Hospital and QMC Neonatal Units said: “The transport system we used on the day was revolutionary as it has the same ventilator as we use on the Neonatal Unit.

“Often moving babies from one ventilator model to another can require additional time for the babies breathing to stabilise, and this system removes that issue. Our main concern was how the babies would cope during the move, but it was flawless.

“The new system also reflects the improvements in care standards, equipment capabilities and regulatory requirements that have developed since previous systems were produced.”

Jenny Machell, Lead Nurse for the MNR programme, worked closely with the Clinical Engineering team on producing the new transport system. She said: “This took extensive work and testing between medical, nursing and the clinical engineering team, before the new equipment was used. It was great collaborative work.  

“The doctors loved it and it changed the whole moving day, as families were reassured their babies were comfortable and safe. We are going to ask for three more transport incubators as a result.”

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