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How it all started

Dr Oliver FisherThe Oliver Fisher Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent started as a Special Care Baby Unit, and the first significant steps towards special care were two incubators positioned in the corner of the adult ward, in the maternity wing in All Saints Hospital by Dr Oliver Fisher.

At that time there were no special care facilities for premature or sick babies. One of his major research interests was the care of the new born child and it was this that eventually led to the establishment of the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Unit at All Saints Hospital.

Dr Oliver Fisher joined the staff of All Saints Hospital, Chatham as consultant paediatrician in October 1956 until his retirement in March 1981. It was without doubt that it was Dr Fishers foresight and tenacity combined with his fundraising efforts that laid the groundwork in making the unit the success it is today. In 1983 the new unit was finally built in the grounds of All Saints Hospital and the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Unit was finally achieved.

All Saints HositalIt had taken Dr Oliver Fisher 27 years to fulfil his dreams of a Special Care Baby Unit. In 1985 he became the president of the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust until his death in 1997. In 1999 the Unit moved to Medway Maritime Hospital and became the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit.

The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust is very proud to have continued to help support the Neonatal to the present day.

The Oliver Fisher Trust

Premature BabyDr Tony Ducker and his wife Roberta Ducker founded the Trust named after Dr Oliver Fisher in 1985. Since its inception the Trust has raised over two million pound which has been used to help support the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit. The fund has been used to purchase essential equipments on the unit namely ventilators, incubators, blood gas machine, ultrasound machine to scan babies brain and heart, bilirubin machine to measure the level of jaundice, infusion pumps and new computer based cot side terminals with patients monitoring system. The Trust also provides travel expenses to help parents, visit their babies on a daily bases.

Premature BabyOliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust (Charity Number MB 292375) also provided funding for the Kent Neonatal Transport ambulance and the cost of Transport service office accommodation. In 2005, OFSCBT provided funding of 70,000 for the Transitional Care Unit where the baby and mother are kept together while receiving neonatal and midwifery care in a dedicated area. It also supported the funding to refurbish the parents day room & the parents bedrooms on the unit and this gives them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their babies needs prior to taking their child home.

Premature BabyThe successful results of the unit are achieved because of the skilled and dedicated staff working with the latest and best equipment and it is with the support of the OFSCBT that this work continues and vital equipment can be added to the Unit. The OFSCBT has been able to provide the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit with the vital equipment to help look after the very small and very sick infants. More financial help is always needed to support the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust and the Neonatal unit.

The Unit

Premature BabyThe unit has a total of 32 cots including 8 intensive care cots. It cares for babies born prematurely or who are sick and need the intensive care that only a highly specialised facility, skilled staff and sophisticated equipment can provide to ensure their survival.

Each year, about 800 babies are admitted to the Unit, 100 or more requiring ventilation. Over the period that the Unit has been open, we have increased the number of babies we have looked after and also increased the percentage, who have survived and survived well in order to lead a good quality of life. Not only do we serve the population of the Medway towns the biggest population within South East Thames, but we also take babies from the surrounding districts of Dartford, Gravesend, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and often go further a field as Ashford, Dover and Hastings in order to help very small babies survive. At times babies from out side Kent are also transferred to us when there are no available cots in the hospitals where parents live.

The government and primary care trusts provide the unit and pays for the staff but the money available to equip and staff a large intensive care unit is never sufficient. Because of the concern and understanding of parents whose babies have been treated in this Unit and the medical staff who have treated them, the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust (OFSCBT) was formed to raise additional funds to purchase the very expensive and high tech equipment necessary to enable the Unit to continue to enhance its high standard of medical care for the babies.