A NEONATAL unit in Swansea is set for a multi-million pound makeover.
The £3milllion scheme will provide isolation facilities at the Singleton Hospital unit and allow it to care for up to 18 very poorly babies from across South West Wales.
Also included in the plans are beds for parents, a quiet room and new storage facilities.
The unit could, however, move to Morriston Hospital in due course to be closer to the city's paediatrics services.
No decision has been taken on this, but under potential changes being consulted on and discussed by health chiefs, Singleton could lose obstetrics (childbirth and the treatment of women before and after childbirth) and neonatal intensive care to Morriston.
Money for the neo-natal refurbishment at Singleton Hospital was announced yesterday.
The planned upgrade has been welcomed by Caroline Crimp, chairwoman of the Association of the Welfare of Children in Hospital.
"We would be very glad that the money was spent on those facilities, for the babies and also for parents," she said. Mrs Crimp, of Sketty, said it was important for parents to be able to stay with their babies.
"Anything that can be provided will surely be welcome," she added.
Neonatal care is currently provided within the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) area, at Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, as well as Singleton Hospital.
The health board has some 80 nurses dedicated to neonatal care. There is also a parents' support group.
The new funding has also been welcomed by Gower AM Edwina Hart.
"The refurbishment of the neonatal unit will provide consistent, high-quality care for mothers with high risk pregnancies and for premature babies born as early as 23 weeks requiring intensive care," she said.
Health Minister Mrs Griffiths said investing in neonatal care was vital to provide high quality care for sick babies in Wales.
"The Welsh Government has been working with all health boards and the neonatal network to address the pressures on the network over the past six months," she said.
"Improvements have been made to the service in Wales, such as the introduction of a cot locator system and a neonatal transport service in north and south Wales."
She added: "The £3.24million I am announcing will provide a safe, sustainable and high quality service to support babies and their families."