Wall of thanks for Sunderland’s health heroes

Dr Imran Ahmed, consultant neo-natologist, with a thank you card.
Dr Imran Ahmed, consultant neo-natologist, with a thank you card.
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The moving pictures and the kind words say it all.

Each is from a grateful parent whose child survived their first days in the world against the odds.

Dr Imran Ahmed, consultant neo-natologist, with a thank you card.

Dr Imran Ahmed, consultant neo-natologist, with a thank you card.

Some babies are as little as 500 grammes - the same weight as two cups of sugar. But thanks to the neo-natal unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, they are given every chance of pulling through.

They, and every other section of the health service, deserve our thanks and we will be asking you to do just that.

Help us to find the health heroes who deserve a nomination in this year’s Best of Health awards.

Dr Imran Ahmed is the consultant neo-natologist on the neo-natal unit at the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Families come here not knowing the outcome and we need to support them. Often, babies stay here for weeks or months because they are so small. That kind of long-term stay makes for a lot of support for parents as well as babies

Dr Imran Ahmed

Job satisfaction, said Dr Ahmed, came from “looking after the tiny little ones”.

He added: “Unlike the adult population, babies do not tend to tell you what the complaint is. We have to tell it through the parents or not even from anyone.

“It is looking after the tiny ones and it gives you a lot of satisfaction.

“Families come here not knowing the outcome and we need to support them. Often, babies stay here for weeks or months because they are so small.

Dr Imran Ahmed with team.

Dr Imran Ahmed with team.

“That kind of long-term stay makes for a lot of support for parents as well as babies.”

A wall on the unit is filled with letters of thanks and photographs of babies who have flourished after leaving the ward.

Some may arrive weighing as little as 500 grams.

“When they go home, with their families showing off their children, and then the families send a picture of their first birthday, it gives you a sense of what we have achieved.”

Dr Imran Ahmed.

Dr Imran Ahmed.

Dr Ahmed praised the awards for the way they give recognition to excellent staff in the health profession.

“It is important for the people of Sunderland to know we are here and doing this kind of work. It is a big deal.”

He has been there since 2014 and has had a number of previous roles.

In his 17 years in the NHS, he started in Kircaldy, spent time in Birmingham where he did specialist training and was a locum consultant in Stoke.

Now, though, he is loving his time on Wearside and said: “We look after extreme pre-term babies and babies who are sick.”

Sunderland is one of four specialist intensive care centres in the region.

The babies which come to Dr Ahmed and his team are often born at 23 to 24 weeks and “need a lot of support.”

Those babies can come from an area which stretches as far as Carlisle as well as most parts of the North East.

“It is a hub for pre-term babies,” said Dr Ahmed. “Essentially, these units are divided into special care and intensive care units.”

A group of four-to-five consultants will provide 24-hour care along with a team of specialist nurses and junior doctors.

They’re one example of excellence in Wearside healthcare. We want you to help us find more.

Get nominating and let’s put the heroes in the running for honours.

As the Best of Health Awards get under way once more, we want to find excellence in all aspects of health care.

Whether it is doctors, nurses, dentists or other health professionals, we want entries in all categories of this year’s competition.

Sponsors for this year’s awards are South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, mydentist, and NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.

To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than Friday, April 7.

Email those entries to lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk or send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland,DH4 5RA.