The Neonatal Unit

Our neonatal unit is superbly equipped and resourced to care for all the sick and premature babies born at the hospital and in the local area, and also provides facilities for parents and carers.

Audit has shown that there are consistently good outcomes for all gestations including within our unit (including 26 - 27 weeks) and the survival rate is consistently above the national average.

Although not a referral unit, we are registered with the emergency bed service and will accept intrauterine transfers from other hospitals. We provide intensive care (levels 1 and 2) as well as a special care nursery for babies who no longer require intensive care.

Intensive care - level 1

This is adjacent to the central delivery suite, allowing easy access and prompt admission of emergencies. Very ill and premature babies are admitted here. Each cot is fully equipped with the most modern life supporting technology and vital sign monitoring equipment such as ventilators, an intensive care incubator, a combined monitor and infusion pumps. The equipment is secured on a state of the art workstation ensuring safety and space within this busy area.

Level 1 provides care for:

  • all babies receiving any respiratory support via a tracheal tube and in the first 24 hours after withdrawal
  • any baby requiring Nasal Continuous Airway Pressure (NCPAP)
  • all babies with severe respiratory disease in the first 48 hours of life
  • any baby below 29 weeks gestation, for the first 48 hours after birth
  • all babies receiving infusions of an inotrope, pulmonary vasodilator or prostaglandin and for 24 hours afterwards
  • any baby receiving an exchange transfusion

Babies within the intensive care nursery require constant skilled nursing and medical care and our staff are specially trained to a very high standard. Although intensive care can be overwhelming, you are actively encouraged and supported to participate in your baby's care.

Intensive care - level 2

As intensive care babies improve they are transferred into the level 2 nursery, but sometimes babies are admitted directly into this area.

Level 2 provides care for:

  • all babies receiving total parenteral nutrition
  • any baby who is having convulsions
  • all babies with respiratory disease after 48 hours requiring additional oxygen
  • any baby who has apnoea requiring stimulation
  • all babies requiring complex nursing procedures
  • any baby requiring treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome

The list above is not exhaustive. Babies may still be nursed in an incubator and require intravenous nutrition; they may also be jaundiced and require phototherapy.

At this stage you will become more involved in the care of you sick newborn.  Physical contact with your baby is actively encouraged and the unit has developed the use of Kangaroo Care.  This involves skin-to-skin contact with you and allows the baby to hear the rhythmical beating of your heart which promotes growth and wellbeing.

Special care nursery

By the time babies have reached the special care nursery most of their medical problems will have been resolved, so they are nursed in cots and weaned off their monitoring equipment. 

Our special care nursery provides care for:

  • some babies who may still require continuous monitoring of vital signs
  • any baby who is being tube fed
  • babies who are receiving phototherapy
  • babies requiring special monitoring e.g. blood glucose or bilirubin levels
  • all babies who need to be barrier nursed

Establishment of feeds, whether breast or bottle, takes place at this stage and the final preparation for discharge. Wherever possible babies are nursed with mum on the post natal ward. This transitional care may involve the administration of intravenous antibiotics, phototherapy and, on occasions, nasogastric tube feeding.

Support for you

The postnatal wards are in close proximity to the unit and you are welcome to visit your baby at any time. If, for any reason, you are unable to visit then, depending on the baby's condition, it may be possible to bring the baby to visit you. 

A photograph of your baby and a booklet containing information about the unit will be given to you. There is also a wide variety of health promotion and information leaflets available throughout your stay, as well as the continual support of knowledgeable staff.

Our unit actively supports the baby friendly initiative which encourages breast-feeding. A designated room is available for mothers wishing to breast-feed; we can also provide breast pumps so that you can express their breast milk for your baby to enjoy.

There is a lounge with TV and beverage facilities where the parents can have a rest away from the unit and siblings are very welcome to play with the toys provided here. There are also two bedrooms where you can 'room in' prior to taking your baby home. Some babies can be in the unit for a very long time; rooming in helps to reduce anxiety and build your confidence in preparation for discharge.

Contact us

Neonatal unit:

01702 385186