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Project information

Improving Care for Premature and Sick Babies

To help to:
- Save the lives of more premature and sick newborn babies
- Support parents to be with their babies
- Give babies a better developmental future
- Enable babies to be home with their families sooner

By providing support to St Mary's and Queen Charlotte's neonatal units.

This is ongoing work - needs vary but the charity's support allows the work to continue for all babies and families.

Charity information: The Winnicott Foundation

The Winnicott Foundation logo
  • Need


    1 in 8 babies spends their first few hours, days or weeks in a neonatal intensive care or special care unit undergoing medical care that is often life-saving. This is a difficult and stressful period for babies and parents which can have a long term effect on a baby's development and on a family. There is a growing understanding of the importance of reducing the stress and pain in difficult and routine medical procedures and in involving parents in the care of their baby from the beginning.


    The Winnicott Foundation provides funds for family support, materials, equipment and training that allows staff in the neonatal units at St Mary's and Queen Charlotte's Hospitals to provide more effectuve and apporpriate care, reduce stress and pain in babies, support parents to care for their baby and reduce barriers that may prevent parents from being able to spend time in the neonatal unit with their baby.

    These funds are over and above what the NHS is able to provide but improve care.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Help to save and improve the lives of more babies born premature and sick


    » Purchasing new, advanced equipment that the NHS is not able to fund that could make a difference to a baby's life or quality of life.

    What success will look like

    Supporting the introduction or extension of new or improved medical care thanks to the purchase of new equipment or training materials

    Aim 2

    Help improve outcomes for babies by supporting parents to be with their babies


    » Provide a comfortable and welcoming environment for families in the neonatal unit and in the separate parent area so that they are able to stay longer
    » Fund travel and accommodation costs for parents, especially when they are transferred from other hospitals or their baby is very sick
    » Fund other support for parents, as necessary, eg childcare, that removes barriers to them being with their baby and provide infomation

    What success will look like

    No financial or distance barriers to parents being with their babies
    Parents spending long periods with their babies
    Parents involved in their baby's care

    Aim 3

    Help to improve the long term developmental future for babies born premature or sick


    » Improve the comfort of babies by buying clothing, materials to reduce noise and light and pillows and wraps to support a babies fragile head and body
    » Fund training and information for staff to support them in their aims to improve care for babies
    » Support the provision of breast milk to babies by funding information and breast pumps for home use

    What success will look like

    Materials that are required by staff are available to imrpove the comfort of each baby; staff understanding how to support babies

    Aim 4

    To help babies to be home with their families sooner


    » Fund items for home when families are experiencing financial difficulty or a baby has special needs and no other funds are available

    What success will look like

    Babies not prevented from going home due to the lack of a cot, pram, clothing or other items

  • Impact


    Supporting the expectation that putting babies and parents at the heart of neonatal care is normal in a neonatal unit, so helping to reduce the long term problems associated with prematurity and long stays in intensive care.

    Each family that is able to be with their baby

    Each baby whose stress and comfort is reduced thanks to the provision of items that trained staff use to provide comfort and support

    Each staff member who takes the ideas to another hospital


    Funding is provided to the neonatal unit as requested by senior staff so only when needed and if other funds are not available. It is only provided when charity funds are available. Consideration is given as to the long term benefit of each request, particularly for equipment.

    The charity is based within the neonatal units so the two staff are aware of where the needs are and able to discuss the most appropriate funding. Trustees have specialist skills.


    News of items funded are placed on facebook and the news section of the website. An email newsletter is being started and a print newsletter being reintroduced. Individual donors are contacted with updates.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £15,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,000 Travel and accommodation for a Funding travel and accommodation costs for families
      £2,000 Bereavement support To support families through bereavement
      £1,000 Hardship Fund To buy basic equipment to enable a baby to go home, such as a cot, buggy, moses basket and clothing
      £10,000 Developmental care Materials and training to improve a baby’s comfort
  • Background


    The Winnicott Foundation specifically supports the neonatal units at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in West London - at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington and Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith.

    The units care for babies from across and outside of London who are transferred in for specialist treatment and intensive care provided by this leading teaching hospital. Queen Charlotte's is one of two hospitals in NW London providing high level and long term neonatal intensive care.


    The neonatal units care for around 900 babies a year, born from 23 weeks gestation through to term. Babies may be premature, have a medical condition or be withdrawing from drugs or alcohol abuse in pregnancy. Babies and their famililes come from all social and ethnic groups. Parents are all ages and from a variety of family backgrounds. All will benefit regardless of background. Travel costs, funeral costs and support from the social fund are used by families with no other resource.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    For 26 years the Winnicott Foundation has worked directly with NHS staff providing medical care and support to the neonatal service. Donations allow us to provide support at short notice, or to work with staff on longer term projects to make a difference. We are based within the hospitals and meet parents and staff directly, manage and co-manage projects with NHS staff. We ensure that funds are not available from other areas first. We see the benefit of the donations we receive daily.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Pippa Jones

    Pippa is the charity's Chief Executive and the mother of a premature baby cared for at St Mary's. She works closely with neonatal unit staff daily.

The charity helps families above and beyond what is expected of an ordinary NHS unit − because of them we were able to function as a family unit.

Emma, mother of Harrison