The neonatal team at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy has become the first in the UK to take delivery of a newly developed advanced preterm baby simulator.
They raised £60,000 to buy the equipment which will help them provides the highest care levels to prematurely born babies.
Over 3200 babies were born in Fife last with fewer than 200 arriving prematurely before 37 weeks gestation – and only seven at less than 28 weeks.
And it is thanks to the skills of the neonatal team that the survival rate for those tiny infants is now around 90 per cent.
The purchase of the new simulator will help the staff who provide the complex and intensive care the babies require.
The simulator is the size of a 27-week old baby, and has been named Paul.
Measuring only 35cm long and weighing less than 1kg, it is the most advanced simulation model of its kind, using cutting edge technology to provide a unique and much more realistic patient experience.
Paul will be used to assist in the ongoing training and development of staff caring for preterm babies.
In addition to being used by individual clinicians to practice particular interventions, it can also be used by the wider team to simulate a variety of emergency scenarios in real time.
It will also benefit patients outwith the local area with the device made available to neonatal units throughout Scotland and the north of England.
Dr Sean Ainsworth, consultant neonatologist, said: “Providing high quality care for very early preterm infants is a complex and time-sensitive process, and can be particularly challenging for neonatal teams.
“Only a very small number of the infants we see are born at 28 weeks gestation or less so having the opportunity to regularly maintain and enhance our skills, both as individual clinicians and as a collectively, is invaluable.
“The device is already advancing our skills and improving the quality of care we provide to this vulnerable young patient group.”
The investment has also been welcomed by parents.
Tina Low’s baby, Penelope, is currently being cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Vic.
She said: “Our daughter was born at 28 weeks and has been here since December 9.
“After a while you get to know what is going on and the nurses are really good at explaining everything. You do start to get a bit more comfortable but it’s definitely been a bit of a rollercoaster.
“A few weeks ago we heard about Baby Paul and it was really, really interesting to know what it can do, and what the nurses can do with it.
“It can only improve things and make things better.”