A HOSPITAL trust has introduced a new app designed to monitor babies having to stay on a specialist unit and update parents on their progress.

vCreate, a video and messaging app currently being used by Colchester Hospital, has been keeping families and their newborn babies connected during the coronavirus crisis.

As a result of the pandemic, parents of newborns who have had to be moved to neonatal units have had to deal with a degree of separation.

Jane and Alex Askew’s twins, James and Freddie, were born prematurely at 30 weeks, weighing less than six lbs between them.

After their delivery, which happened via Caesarean section at Ipswich Hospital three days after the national lockdown began, they were transferred to Framlingham Neonatal Unit for two weeks, before being cared for on Colchester Hospital’s Neonatal Unit.

It was here that medical teams identified Freddie was having bowel problems and he had to go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire for more specialist care for nearly two weeks.

Thankfully, the introduction of the app ensured Jane and Alex, from Colchester, could remain in touch with their newborn, despite being 60 miles away.

“It was really good to have the app,” said Jane.

“The nurses would send photos overnight and although you know they would ring if something was wrong, it’s the added reassurance you get and it’s lovely to see a photo.

“Our family and friends enjoyed seeing them too.

“It was particularly good for us because there were a couple of days where we didn’t see either of them, so getting to see the photos of James and the updates was really nice.

“Everyone was so fantastic and looked after them both really well.”

Neonatal ward clerk Tuesday Simpson, who helped to set up vCreate at Colchester Hospital, said the new technology is a game-changer.

“This gives people hope and allows them to make memories as they can save the photos and videos we send them,” she said.

“I think it’s going to make such a difference, especially if it’s not easy for mum or dad to come in.

“It’s more personal and is way to keep them in the loop.”