A CONSULTANT at a pioneering baby unit will be training the doctors of the future.
Medical links between North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and Durham University's school of medicine and health have been strengthened with the appointment of consultant neonatologist Samir Gupta as senior lecturer.
Dr Gupta, who has appeared on the international stage presenting his reseach, works at the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, which treats premature babies from areas including Hartlepool, east Durham and Billingham.
The unit has become a pioneer in research into ways of helping premature and sick babies and has links with hospitals across the country.
Dr Gupta said the focus of work at the unit is to look at how babies can get the best chance of not only surviving, but also not having the long term developmental and medical problems often associated with premature babies.
He said: "We are working on two major pieces of research at the moment; one to look at how we can give tiny and very sick babies the best chance of survival and good long term health by close monitoring of their heart and blood circulation. The other piece of research is looking at how we optimise the breathing support using ventilators and newer ways of providing non-invasive respiratory support for very premature babies.
"Both of these pieces of research are very important to improve long-term outcomes of very sick babies and could benefit many babies in the future, both here and all across the world.
"I am delighted to be appointed senior lecturer with the University of Durham. Already we are working together to further our very important research work and I am very excited about seeing the relationship go from strength to strength."
Dr Gupta added: "The neonatal unit at the University Hospital of North Tees has fostered research links with the other neonatal units in the country, and is now one of the leading centres nationally for recruiting parents and babies into pioneering research programmes.
"We have a fantastic team of medical and nursing colleagues supported by a great research and development department and have established a close working relationship with other units in Teesside.
"While research itself is important for continually improving the care we give to these very premature and sick babies, it is also a great reassurance for the parents to know that, despite the trauma of having a baby in the unit, they know the care they receive will be as good or better than they would receive in any of the top neonatal units because we are actively looking at ways to improve care."
The trust's medical director, David Emerton, said: "Forming links with the school of medicine and health is important. It will benefit the people who both use and work in the health service."