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Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

Hospitals in the Northern Neonatal Nework

Scope Of Care

    Northern Neonatal Network Care Pathways – December 2021


    Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust – Queen Elizabeth Hospital


    Scope of care

    Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust provides neonatal services on its Queen Elizabeth Hospital site. Because of the very close proximity of the Unit to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle NICU, there is a strong link between the two sites and babies requiring ongoing intensive care will routinely be transferred there.


    The current services provided on this site are as follows;


    SCBU, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead


    Current Unit capacity

    8 Special Care cots – 2 High dependency/6 SCBU.


    Annual number of deliveries

    1759 (April 2020 – March 2021).


    Annual number of admissions

    181 (April 2020 – March 2021).


    Current threshold for routine ante-natal transfers

    Generally obstetricians will try to transfer <32/40 gestation mothers to a Level 2 or 3 NICU hospital.


    Current threshold for routine post-natal transfers

    <30/40 are routinely transferred to a Level 3 NICU for Intensive care.


    Other thresholds for routine post-natal transfer

    Babies who can be cared for and requiring investigations that can be undertaken at Gateshead will usually not be transferred. Examples of those who we will require transfer include: babies with significant congenital abnormalities, babies with HIE or Babies with difficult to control seizures. Severely growth restricted babies that are likely to need TPN. Surgical referrals. Those Babies requiring exchange transfusion (rather than a specific bilirubin threshold). Also, babies requiring a cardiac assessment usually involving an unexpected post-natal finding or a PDA in a pre-term. Other cases will be discussed on an individual case by case basis with clinicians in one of the Level 3 NICUs, typically Newcastle.

    Very occasional babies requiring liver assessment will be transferred to St James Hospital, Leeds.


    Routine investigations/tests/screening currently undertaken

    ROP screening is performed on-site by the consultant Ophthalmologist, (currently Miss Hillier) from Newcastle(RVI). EEG’s are not done on-site and would require transfer. MRI and CT scan may be done on an individual basis.


    Surgical procedures undertaken or post-surgical care provided if not?

    No surgery is currently provided at Gateshead. If babies require laser treatment for ROP, they will be transferred to Newcastle.


    Cooling for H.I.E undertaken?

    The SCBU is currently passively cooling babies for HIE prior to transfer to a NICU for active cooling if required/indicated.


    T.P.N. provided on-site?

    No. There are no on-site facilities for care of indwelling long lines and TPN.


    Neonatal community outreach team/services provided?

    Gateshead does provide a neo-natal community nursing service – mostly related to oxygen dependant babies, feeding or developmental issues but once again these are often decided on a case by case basis.


    Transitional Care provision on-site?

    Gateshead does provide some limited transititional care facilities on their post-natal ward with oversight by the neo-natal team.

Location Ward Info

    Neonatal unit facilities

    Parent accommodation

    The Unit has one mother and baby room where mothers can come and stay with their babies in the days leading up to discharge. The room has a bed, TV, en suite shower and toilet facilities.


    Parent facilities

    The Unit has a sitting room for parents/siblings/visitors with a TV/DVD, magazines and information leaflets. All children must be supervised at all times. There is a kitchen where hot beverages can be made free of charge as well as chilled, filtered water. No hot drinks are to be taken into the clinical area. The nearest toilets can be found in the reception area of Maternity.


    Mobile phone use

    Mobile phones must not be used in the clinical area. They can be used in the Sitting room. If parents are wishing to use their phones to take photographs of their baby, the phone must be switched to flight mode.


    Telephone and computer access

    There is a pay phone in the reception area of Maternity as well as a free phone for a local taxi service. There is no computer access on the Unit for parents or visitors.


    Breastfeeding facilities and support

    There is an expressing room on the Unit with electric pumps available for use. Each mother is provided with a sterilising unit and this is changed daily by staff. Hand pumps are available free from the Unit. All staff ahve had breastfeeding support training and can assist mothers with breastfeeding and advice and support for expressing by hand, electric and hand pumps as well as assistance to establish feeding. There is a designated breastfeeding support worker within the maternity unit who is available to assist mothers on the unit, on the postnatal ward and at home.


    Facilities for siblings

    There are no designated facilities for siblings. Colouring sheets and crayons are available on the Unit. Parents/visitors are advised to bring books, toys, tablets/IPads, etc to keep children entertained.


    Bereavement support

    Those requiring support will be assisted by staff to access support through their GP/Community midwife/health visitor. Bereavement services are available at nearby RVI hospital. The hospital Chaplains are also available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. The unit also hold information to access SANDS services and there are local SANDS support groups.


    Parent Support Group

    There is no specific parent support group for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital SCBU. There are many local groups, eg Bosom Buddies and the Unit has details of these parents can access. There is a notice board in the paretns sitting room. All parents are given information to access BLISS and Tommy’s services.


    Who’s who on the unit?

    Consultant(s) on the unit

    Dr. S. Ramesh, Dr. A. Benhamed, Dr. S. Mannikar, Dr. H. Estyn-Jones, Dr. A. Dale, Dr. N. Sabrine, Dr. S. Wolny, Dr. N. Gittins, Dr. C. Howey


    Unit manager

    Jennifer Kay


    Infant feeding coordinator

    Dr. Anne Dale is our nutrition specialist. We also have access to the SALT team, dieticians and community paediatric nurses.


    Family centred care lead

    No designated nurse but all staff work strongly to promote as part of the Unit philosophy of care.


    Developmental care lead

    Neonatal nurse Claire Henderson


    Community nurse

    No designated SCBU community nurse. We are supported by the local Community Paediatric Nursing Team.


    What to expect when you arrive

    How to access the Unit

    All parents and visitors must sign in and out of the maternity unit on arrival and departure. The Special Care Baby Unit is securely locked at all times. Entry can be made via a buzzer entry system which is activated by staff once parents/visitors have confirmed who they are and who they are there to visit. This also has a monitor which enables staff to see who is at the door.


    Who to talk to if you have any concerns

    Nursing staff and senior nursing staff are available at all times should parents which to address any concerns. Medical staff can be requested if parents wish to discuss their concerns with the medical team. PALS service is available for advice and support as detailed earlier.


    Talking to the medical team

    Ward rounds are daily on the unit by a member of the medical team or one of the nurse practitioners. Parents/carers are invited to attend. Each baby is seen on an individual basis, ie confidentially and with no other parents present. Medical staff are available to talk to at request outside of ward round times. This would be arranged by one of the nursing staff for a day and time to suit parents/carers. Parents/carers are advised to write down any questions or particular concerns they may have prior to seeing the team so all areas are addressed.


    Ward round

    Ward round takes place on a morning. However, the time may vary slightly as our doctor’s work between SCBU and children’s ward. On a Friday morning we have a “grand round” where the medical team discuss all babies and their care as a team.


    Baby rest time

    There is no baby rest/quiet time on our Unit.

Location Directions

    By car

    Car parking charges

    Car and motorbike parking facilities are at all sites. Drop off areas are located outside of the Emergency Care centre, Maternity, the Surgery Centre and the Jubilee Wing.

    • Up to 2 hrs – £2.50
    • Up to 4 hrs – £3.50
    • 4-24 hrs – £5.00
    • Lost tickets – £5.00


    Nearest car park

    The best entrance to use for maternity/SCBU is Entrance C from Queen Elizabeth Avenue.

    There is a car parking permit scheme available for parents/carers which allows free parking for the duration of the baby’s hospital admission available from SCBU staff. For parents using public transport and in receipt of state benefits, you can claim back travel costs from the General Office in the Main Entrance.

    There are bus stops situated along Queen Elizabeth Avenue which allows for travel to Gateshead and Heworth Interchanges. Metro services are available from both. Access to the railway is from Heworth Interchange or from Central Station which is one metro stop from Gateshead Interchange.


    Download Hospital Map

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Location Visiting Info

    Visiting information

    • Visiting is every day of the year. Parents and siblings of the baby can visit at anytime, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
    • For visiting family and friends, the times are 3.30pm-4.30pm and 6.30pm-7.30pm.
    • All visitors must be accompanied by a parent except for extenuating circumstances.
    • Two visitors are allowed per baby plus a parent. Siblings of the baby are no included in this number.
    • There are no under 16’s allowed on the unit aside from siblings.We respectfully request that parents and visitors do not attend the Unit in their work attire and that all outdoor coats are removed before entering rooms. Teddy bear shaped coat hooks are situated outside of each room on both sides of the door.
    • We ask that every person, on entering and leaving the room, wash their hands at the sink with soap and water, regardless of whether they will be handling the baby and even if they have used alcohol gel in the corridor.
    • Alcohol gel can be found just outside the main door into the Unit for hands to be cleansed prior to entering. There is also gel just inside the door, to clean hands on leaving the Unit.
    • We advise that babies nursed in incubators are not handled by any visitors, only parents and siblings of the baby.

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