James and Freddie Askew

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Jane Askew

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James weighed 3lbs (1.4kg) and twin Freddie just 2lb 1oz (936g) when they were born at 30 weeks

The parents of twin boys treated in hospitals 60 miles (97km) apart thanked staff for sending them video updates.

Jane and Alex Askew’s sons James and Freddie were born prematurely at 30 weeks at Ipswich Hospital.

James was looked after at Colchester Hospital but Freddie needed specialist care at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge.

Staff were able to send pictures of James to his parents with a new app, used by the NHS during lockdown when hospital visits were restricted.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) introduced the vCreate service as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, to securely share messages with families who were unable to be in hospital with their babies.

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Jane Askew

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The family was separated when one of the babies was transferred to a hospital 60 miles (97km) away

James weighed 3lbs (1.4kg) and his brother Freddie just 2lb 1oz (936g) when they were born by Caesarean section on 26 March at Ipswich Hospital – three days after the national coronavirus lockdown was announced.

They were both transferred back to Colchester Hospital’s neonatal unit but Freddie needed treatment for a bowel problem at Addenbrooke’s for two weeks.

‘Added reassurance’

Mrs Askew said it was a “tough time” for her and her husband as first-time parents but the pictures helped.

She said: “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.

Both babies have since been discharged from hospital and are doing well at home in Colchester.

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ESNEFT

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The app allows neonatal staff to securely send regular pictures and updates to parents



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