Diagnosis and treatment
We provide high quality care for neonates who need intensive and specialist care, including surgery and cardiac care. As well as intensive medical and surgical care, other procedures and interventions can be performed on the unit including eye screening and laser treatment.
We have close links with the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and specialist and general children's services within Southampton Children’s Hospital. We provide an extensive range of specialist paediatric services in neonatal medicine and surgery, including:
We also work closely with the fetal medicine unit, managing high risk and complicated pregnancies and deliveries.
Surgical neonatal care is led by an experienced multi-professional team. Specialist information and support for parents of babies needing surgical services is available prenatally during admission and following discharge from hospital.
Our unit, in conjunction with Oxford neonatal intensive care unit, operates the Thames Valley Wessex Neonatal Network transport service. This collaboration is known as Southampton Oxford Neonatal Transport (SONeT).
We provide different levels of care, including
- intensive care for babies who need ventilation, premature babies weighing less than 1000g or babies born at less than 28 weeks gestation, and for babies with severe respiratory disease or who need major surgery
- high dependency care for babies who need respiratory support, intravenous nutrition and additional care that is greater than special care
- special care, for babies who need constant monitoring of respiration or heart rate, are receiving extra oxygen or being tube fed.
Arriving on the unit
You might come to us through several routes:
- If you're booked to have your baby in our maternity unit, and your baby needs neonatal care.
- If you have been referred to the Wessex fetal medicine unit due to complications with your pregnancy, and have your baby in Princess Anne Hospital. Specialist postnatal care will be provided for their baby on the unit. This usually includes babies with antenatally diagnosed conditions requiring surgery, specialist care or premature babies.
- Premature and term babies can be transferred to us for neonatal intensive and specialist care from local neonatal units in the region. These babies may have a condition requiring neonatal surgery or specialist paediatric services available in Southampton Children’s Hospital.
We look after babies from within the Wessex neonatal operational delivery network, Jersey and the Channel Islands. We also take babies from other parts of the country for specialised care when needed.
Bereavement support is provided by a dedicated team and supported by the hospital chaplaincy service.
There are weekly parent support group meetings on Wednesday mornings (9.30am to 12noon) for parents and for those returning with their babies for ongoing support and monitoring. The Holding Little Hands Facebook page provides an opportunity to speak to other parents and to share your experiences.
We provide antenatal counselling to mothers with a high risk pregnancy, antenatally diagnosed conditions and expected pre-term deliveries. We also provide routine neonatal care of babies born to mothers who are booked in to give birth in Southampton.
Our unit is one of the few centres to operate a donor breast milk bank. Milk is collected from donors across Hampshire (and further afield). It's screened, pasteurised, then frozen and stored to be used by sick babies across the country.
There is a neonatal dietician who has regular involvement at the NICU providing support and advice to staff to optimise neonatal nutrition. There is a regular weekly multidisciplinary neonatal nutrition ward round to monitor growth and nutrition of the babies. There is also a dedicated neonatal pharmacist who supervises parental intravenous nutrition to those babies who are not able to be enterally nourished.
Our neonatal physiotherapist is involved in developmental care, respiratory support and assessment of babies. They also provide teaching for staff and parents on the needs of the babies, work with the parent support group, and are involved in the neuro-developmental follow up of babies after they have gone home.
Speech and language therapy
A speech and language therapist visits the neonatal unit to provide developmental care, help stimulate oral feeding and support breastfeeding.
Neonatal hearing screening
The hearing screening team works with us, and will usually provide hearing screening before your baby goes home.
We have a dedicated member of staff who carries out weekly eye screening.