Neonatal Units

Neonatal Units in Scotland

Medical and nursing / midwifery staff in all neonatal and maternity units in Scotland are trained to provide emergency care for unexpectedly sick or preterm newborn babies until the baby can be transferred safely by the Scottish Neonatal Transport Service (ScotSTAR) for ongoing high dependency or intensive care .

There are three levels of neonatal unit:

Special Care Baby Units (SCBU) (Level 1): provide special care (e.g. tube feeding and / or intravenous antibiotic therapy for babies who are born no more than eight weeks preterm). They may also, by agreement between Boards, provide some high dependency services (e.g. some forms of breathing support).

Local Neonatal Units (LNU) (Level 2): provide specialised and high dependency care, including assisted ventilation and short-term neonatal intensive care.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) (Level 3): provide the full range of medical neonatal care, including for babies and their families referred from other units for specialised care (e.g. surgical and / or cardiac services).  Neonatal intensive care is needed for approximately one in 50 babies born in Scotland. Pregnant women at high risk of delivering before 27 completed weeks’ gestation (before 28 weeks’ for twins) and / or a baby expected to weigh less than 800g are, if possible, transferred before delivery to a maternity facility co-located with a NICU.

This is how they are distributed across Scotland. Click for more information.