A doctor whose work involves spotting signs of stress in babies being treated in intensive care has been honoured with a special award.

Dr Nashwa Matta, 59, associate specialist in neonatology and neurodisability at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, is one of just three medical professionals in the UK to receive a new Members’ Award from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) for her work.

The Child in Mind programme Dr Matta teaches to both medical professionals and parents helps them spot signs of stress in babies in neonatal units, allowing them to calm and reassure the infants.

She has adapted the programme over a 15-year period, with the initiative also being expanded beyond the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow to community health teams.

The Child in Mind programme is taught to trainee neonatal nurses at the University of the West of Scotland and has also been rolled out to those working in paediatric intensive care units.

Dr Matta, who was presented with her award at a ceremony in Liverpool earlier this week, said: “I felt overwhelmed after hearing I had been given this award from the RCPCH.

“It’s so important to promote spotting signs of stress in infants and it’s important that we understand the babies, what they are feeling.

“Before I discovered the Child in Mind programme, I perhaps used to be too focused on the infant’s medical and physical needs, but the mental health of the babies is vital.

“I am so passionate about this work and teaching medical professionals and parents more about how to spot the signs of stress.

“I do a long-term follow-up, so you can see the difference in children who have had the psychosocial aspects of their needs addressed and those who haven’t had enough input from their carers.

“You cannot underestimate the role of the parent in intensive care with their babies, their presence is a buffer for the stress.”

Jamie Redfern, director of women’s and children’s services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We are so proud of Nashwa and I’m thrilled to see her incredible work with infants recognised by the RCPCH with this prestigious award.

“Our dedicated staff at the Royal Hospital for Children work tirelessly to provide the highest standard of care to our patients and their families, and Nashwa is a shining example of this.”