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Parents & Families most Frequently Asked Questions


Why is my baby having to go to a different hospital?

There can be many reasons for this

  • They may require specialist services which are only available in certain hospitals.

Having care centralised in a few larger units means that all the neccesary specialists can be available to provide your baby the best care. Some conditions happen rarely and it is much better that the staff who are looking after your baby have the most experience in managing it. Often this necessitates specialist equipment which requires specific expertise to use.

  • The unit where they have been born may not have enough beds, equipment or staff

Wherever possible a unit will try and keep babies booked for delivery in their unit. Unfortunately sometimes a unit may have a higher than normal number of admissions or there may be staff sickness. In these situations it is safer for your baby to move to a unit which has the capacity to look after them. We would aim to move your baby back to your home unit as soon as possible.


How will you move my baby?

  • Moving a baby is often a complex process. We move over 600 babies per year. Some of the babies we move will require intensive care during the move whilst others may be near to going home.

  • Our team will come to your unit in our adapted ambulance.

  • We will be given a handover of the details of your baby's stay by your units medical and nursing staff.

  • We will assess your baby and undertake whatever treatment is neccesary to ensure your baby is safe to move.

  • Once stable we will transfer your baby to our specially designed transport incubator. This has all the equipment needed to provide for your baby's needs in transport. Babies are monitored throughout the transfer.

  • Your baby will be secured with soft straps so they are stable in transfer. We then will load the transport incubator into our ambulance and proceed to the hospital. 

  •  The team will then handover all the details to the receiving medical and nursing team. We will then transfer your baby to the units equipment. 


Can parents travel in the ambulance?

  • In certain circumstances parents can travel in the ambulance with their baby and the team. 

  • Sometimes if a baby is very sick we can't bring parents with us so that we have enough room to administer emergency treatments in the ambulance.

  • We can't take parents who are still under the care of a medical team. 

  • In more routine transfers we can sometimes take 1 parent with us at the discretion of the team. The accompanying parent can only bring one small bag so that we have enough room for our equipment to be safely stored. 


Should I follow the ambulance?

  • Following ambulances is very dangerous. It is often very stressful for parents if their baby is being moved and trying to follow causes too much of a distraction to the driver.

  • We sometimes will have to go under blue lights to get through traffic or if we have to transfer your baby quickly. Again following an ambulance driving in these conditions is not safe.

  • We would advise leaving at least 20 minutes between our team leaving and you travelling.


How is this service funded?

  • We are funded by the NHS Specialist Commissioners to provide transport services to babies whose mum has booked to deliver in one of our network hospitals.

  • We sometimes undertake transfers to help out neighbouring teams if they have a high workload but we will always prioritise care of babies born in our network.

  • We also receive crucial funding from our charity, Cots for Tots, to purchase vital medical equipment. To find out more about Cots for Tots, click here

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