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Hospital trust sets up new neonatal support group for fathers

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A hospital trust in the West Country is to celebrate the official launch this weekend of a new support group for fathers of babies who start their life in its neonatal unit.

S.H.E.D – or Support and Help for Every Dad – is a new group aimed at supporting fathers of babies who begin life at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s neonatal unit.

“Having a baby that requires neonatal care is often a frightening time for parents”

Deborah Lee

S.H.E.D was established earlier this year and offers peer support for dads who are coping with the wide range of issues associated with having a baby on the unit.

The official launch event on Saturday 2 October is a celebration of the group’s establishment and work to date, said Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The group has been supported in its establishment by trust staff members led by sister Betty Tenn-Stewart and is looking to help make the journey through neonatal care less stressful.

Gloucestershire’s Better Births improvement programme has also funded a new video that focuses on the stories of fathers who have had their babies cared for on the unit.

SHED - Support and Help for Every Dad

Rob Harrison, one of SHED’s founding members, said: “S.H.E.D wants to bring together these dads to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak, learn or listen to other fathers who have walked the same journey; balancing caring for a new child, partner, siblings and families – whilst in many cases having to continue to work to provide for their family.”

Deborah Lee, chief executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals, said: “We are delighted to be working with parents to establish these invaluable groups, which are providing such important support to the parents on the neonatal unit alongside the professional care we provide for babies and their parents.”

She added: “Having a baby that requires neonatal care is often a frightening time for parents who can find this bewildering and isolating, so being able to share the experience with other parents who have also been through similar situations can be a real lifeline.”

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