Staff and parents have been taking part in the celebrations for World Prematurity Day today (November 17) in the neonatal unit at Barnet Hospital.  

Neonatal and maternity staff across the globe are wearing purple to mark the day, such as socks or a headband to mark what is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the impact it can have on families.

Staff on the Starlight neonatal unit have decorated the ward with a balloon arch and there are gift bags for parents, a selfie frame for taking pictures to share and purple snacks to enjoy.

Consultant neonatologist, Dr Shanthi Shanmugalingam, said: “The team has gone to great efforts to recognise this day and raise awareness around the impact having a premature baby can have on families.

“We are here to support families and care for babies when they are at their most vulnerable and it’s important to recognise both the work of our unit and the bravery of our families and babies”, Shanthi said.  

“Thank you to our fantastic Starlight Superstars - a group made up of current and former parents, who kindly donated the gift bags and goodies.”  

According to charity Bliss ‘for every 13 babies born in the UK, one baby is born premature’.

Neonatal sister Becky French said: "We know how tough this last year has been for everyone, especially for parents who were unable to visit their babies. That's why we wanted to do something extra special to celebrate all the little miracles past and present."

Neonatal sister Miranda Ryan agreed: “For parents of premature babies, days feel so long and nights even longer. On World Prematurity Day parents, charities and health professionals come together to talk about premature birth and raise awareness about the hurdles babies and parents face, and overcome each day.”