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The Oliver Fisher Unit

Love Medway Team

21 Sept 2023

The Oliver Fisher Unit is a 36-cot neonatal unit at Medway Maritime Hospital

The Oliver Fisher Unit is a 36-cot  neonatal unit, providing intensive care, high dependency, special and transitional care services for babies born prematurely, or who are sick at birth and require specialist treatment. Babies and families are cared for by a specialist team led by seven consultants and a neonatal matron, and the unit prides itself on working in partnership with patient’s parents and/or caregivers to provide them with the best care possible.

To add background, and to show how far we have come, our namesake is Dr Oliver Fisher, who was a pioneer in neonatology. In the 1950s, the Special Care Unit consisted of two solitary cots in the corner of the maternity ward. However, by 1982, he was instrumental in the opening of The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Ward at All Saint Hospital in Chatham. In 1985, Dr Tony Ducker founded our charity to add extra funding into the care of the premature and poorly babies. Since then, we have covered projects ranging from ward refits through to smaller things such as a book for every baby to help bonding. We pay for equipment, training and family based initiatives. The NHS funds the unit as a whole but we all hear the headlines about budgets, and we all know there is a difference between private and public healthcare. Our aim is to give that private level in a public setting, the 'gold standard' for patients in our ward, and their families.

In 1999, when All Saints was decommissioned, the unit moved to its current home at Medway Maritime Hospital and currently admits around 1200 babies a year from Medway, Swale and surrounding areas. We have an exciting couple of years coming up as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the unit next year and the 40th “birthday” of the charity in 2025.

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