Shortages of newborn cots in hospital neonatal units have been a sobering reality in New Zealand recently.  In response to this urgent need, 20 cots have been donated to help the Christchurch Women’s Hospital cope with increasing demand in its neonatal intensive care unit.



Rapid Relief Team New Zealand General Manager, Paul Simmons, said RRT volunteers were shocked to hear of the bed shortages so jumped into action to assist.

As a result, RRT provided the much-needed cots to the unit, which had reported a significant increase in babies requiring care. The growth in the number of babies requiring specialised care had led to bed shortages, placing immense pressure on hospital resources and staff.

“The shortage of neonatal ICU beds means that vulnerable babies are in less than ideal cots for the delivery of care. We have also heard reports of cramped clinical rooms and lack of privacy amongst the patients.”

Nurse Gina Beecroft describes to Paul Simmons (RRT General Manager) and Kingsley Smith (RRT Director) the benefits of a height-adjusting cot

“We know how challenging this time is for parents and equally the healthcare staff, so we are pleased to donate these specialised cots to help relieve some pressure faced and provide more user and baby-friendly cots,” Paul continued.

“We knew there was a desperate need for further support, so we reached out to the Canterbury DHB to offer assistance, gifting 20 cots to the Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s neonatal ICU,” Paul said.

In 2021, RRT donated five specialised cots to Starship Children’s Hospital after responding to a mother’s plea for support. This donation was well received, with Dawn Tucker, Nurse Unit Manager of Starship Children’s Hospital sharing:

“Thank you so much for your kind donation, the cots were checked and out in use within the hour. Your timing could not have been better.”

After seeing the powerful impact these cots made to the Starship Children’s Hospital, RRT was compelled to do more.

Vanessa checks on baby Kane

The neonatal unit cares for infants born prematurely, or with surgical, congenital and medical complications.

This donation was made possible by RRT thanks to the valued support of the National Assistance Fund (NAF).

“Towards the end of a baby’s neonatal journey once medically stable, babies are able to graduate into a cot. These new specialised cots donated by RRT will be of great benefit to the neonatal service. Unlike our previous traditional cots, they are height adjustable. These new cots allow for care to be delivered to meet the comfort and safety for both parents and staff alike. This improves the working environment for staff and improves accessibility and comfort for parents when caring for their babies in NICU.”

Christchurch Women’s Hospital

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