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Research is an important part of what we do on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to improve treatment and care for babies now and in the future.

Parents have the opportunity to give consent for their babies to participate in clinical research trials that are appropriate for them.

Over the past few years we have taken part in several large NHS funded studies such as:

  • PIPS - use of probiotics
  • SIFT - speed of feeding
  • ELFIN - lactoferrin use to prevent infection
  • ROPP - prevention of Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Pedal - the long term follow up of ROPP

Dr. Peter Reynolds, who is the lead clinician for neonatal research, designed and published a study on High Flow Delivery room stabilisation which has led to a change in our practice to make this a more gentle experience for babies.

Dr Vennila Ponnusamy has been researching biomarkers in brain injured babies hoping to target treatment for these babies in the future.

We have dedicated research nurses, Nicky Holland and Karen Wells, working on the neonatal unit as part of the wider Research and Development Team at Ashford and St Peter's.

Both are experienced neonatal nurses who have worked with the NICU team for many years

If you would like more infromation about research at Ashford and St Peter's hospital, or to read about some of the research, please follow the links below:


Quality Measures

  • Grand Round – our consultant neonatologists do a joint weekly ward round to ensure that care is consistent and quality is maintained.
  • We have weekly team meetings where key people involved with the care of babies on the neonatal unit meet such as ultrsound, Xray and microbiologist round.
  • We have a psychosocial meeting with the multidisciplinary team with NCOT, safeguarding midwife, consultants and nurses. The results are then sent to named health visitors.
  • We have a developmental care ward round each week.
  • Neonatal assembly where small issues are discussed and then measures implemented to improve standards
  • We regularly audit the quality of our care locally, and have 100% participation in the National Neonatal Audits to ensure quality standards are maintained.
  • We monitor and comply with relevant national standards.
  • An active program of simulation training involving nurses, midwives and doctors from different teams to help prepare staff for emergencies and unexpected events.
  • Every year we produce a Unit Report (including mortality and morbidity figures for the unit) and a Governance Report.
  • All new nurses partcipate in a preceptorship programme ensuring high standard of education and nursing skills.
  • vWe encourage all nurses to further their development offering them specifc courses such as the Neonatal Intensive Care Course


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