Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital - The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals - NHS

Royal Victoria Infirmary

Neonatal unit facilities

Parent Accommodation/Facilities
There are 3 parents flats available on the unit, these can be used subject to availability, but may have to be prioritised for use. All flats have en-suite facilities and hot meals can be provided for mothers resident in the flats. Please see nurse in charge for further details.

Also within the grounds of the RVI is Crawford House, parental accommodation that is funded by The Sick Children’s Trust. This accommodation has 23 family bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen and dining area. There are also laundry facilities, play area for children and lounge area, further information can be found at where you can also download a leaflet specific to Crawford House and all it has to offer.

Rooms at Crawford House must be booked via the ward staff and is subject to availability.

The unit also offers a parental area with TV where tea, coffee and a selection of hot drinks are available. There is also a small children’s play area within this room (children must be supervised). Parents can also access snacks such as sandwiches, crisps, yoghurts and fruit free of charge whilst on the unit.

Mobile phone use
Mobile phones are only permitted for use on the unit whilst in flight mode for the use of cameras. No videos to be used, there are areas within the hospital such as reception & lobbies, cafes etc. where mobile phones are permitted. Payphones are available in the main reception of the hospital. There are currently no parent facilities for using computers

Breastfeeding facilities and support
The RVI Neonatal Unit has UNICEF Baby-Friendly Stage 1 Accreditation. This means that policies, guidelines and staff training curriculums are in place to promote optimal support and care. There are 2 expressing rooms where mothers can express breast milk or this can be done at the cot side with the privacy of screens where Mothers can be close to their baby. HELEN SMITH is the infant feed lead nurse who can offer you support and advice. All staff on the unit are fully trained in supporting breast feeding and expressing.

Facilities for siblings
There is a small play area within the parent’s waiting room where children must be supervised. We also have a selection of colouring pictures and pencils for children which can be used within the bays.

Bereavement support
We have a quiet room on the unit that can be used by parents if they wish to have some quiet time as well as a quiet room at Leazes reception. Bereavement officers are also available to speak to and support you through a difficult time. The chaplaincy service is available 24 hour a day and can be contacted on request.

Parents can talk to medical/nursing staff at any time, but we also have the option for parents to speak to our psychologist Bridie Grant, who will often talk to parents through this difficult time. Ask staff for further details.Barbara Hanson can also be contacted for counselling support.

Parent support group
The Buddy Group – this runs once a month where parents, both previous patients and present can meet for support, advice or a social get together. Sessions often have guest speakers where families can ‘meet the professionals’ and are very informal with tea & coffee provided.

Tiny Lives RVI Charity 
Tiny Lives understands that being told not all may be well with your baby is an incredibly traumatic experience and our team of Buddy Volunteers are here to help, proving Peer Support.

Peer support and sharing common experiences has been proven to increase wellbeing. Peer support is recognised and advised to aid recovery in the NICE guidelines. Some of the benefits found through NICE’s research:

  • You will make new friends with shared experiences,
  • find hope through over people’s triumphs,
  • build social relationships
  • experience the relief of speaking freely and sharing in a group
  • find acceptance of your illness,
  • and most importantly realise that ‘you are not alone’

Buddy Volunteers are people with lived experience in the following areas Foetal Med, Antenatal stays, Twins/multiples, SCBU and bereavement. They are here for you, to help share experiences and peer support you through this journey.

It may be that you would like a buddy volunteer to come and sit with you as you wait for appointments in Foetal Med, or go for a coffee. It maybe that you would like someone to spend some time with you as you visit your baby in special care, or someone to visit you as you have an antenatal stay on ward 34.

For more information or if you would like to be paired with a Buddy Volunteer please contact or 0191 2302112

Or visit our website for more information

The Discharge Clinic – this runs twice a month where parents are invited to come along and discuss issues in preparation for going home. The session is run as a workshop and parents rotate individually around the group where topics such as feeding, safe sleeping and developmental care are discussed which can be tailored to each family to allay any worries or anxieties they may face before going home. The session is very informal with tea, coffee and biscuits and extended family members such as Grandparents can also attend if the family wishes.

Please ask a member of staff for further details.

Who’s who on the unit?

Consultant(s) on the unit
Dr Alan Fenton, Dr Martin Ward Platt, Dr Nick Embleton, Dr Janet Berrington, Dr Sundeep Harigopal, Dr Richard Hearn, Dr Sri Ramaiah, Dr Naveen Athiraman, Dr Rob Tinnion

Nursing and other leads
Mrs Yvonne Collingwood – Ward Matron
Helen Smith – Infant feed co-ordinator
Maria Douglas – Developmental care/family centred care lead (red area)
Karen Matthison – Developmental care/family centred care lead (blue area)
Pat Dulston – Physiotherapist
Catherine Ashcroft – Speech and Language therapist
Fiona Ewing – Social Worker

What to expect when you arrive

How to access the Unit
Situated in Leazes Wing, Level 4 within the maternity department

All entrances to maternity services are locked with security doors, the staff at maternity reception can open the doors for access to the neonatal unit.

Once you enter the unit it separates into two areas; Intensive care (Red Area) and High/Low dependency (Blue/Green Area). All unit facilities such as waiting area, breast feeding rooms etc are situated within the unit and are for use of all parents within the unit.

The nurse caring for your baby on each shift will introduce themselves.

Who to talk to if you have any concerns
The nurse caring for your baby that day will be available to talk to about your baby’s care or if you prefer you can discuss any issues with the nurse in charge. Appointments can be made to meet with the Matron if required.

Talking to the medical team
Consultants rotate around the unit on a weekly basis and are available to talk to when they are covering the area your baby is on. Parents are also invited to attend the morning ward rounds and encouraged to share thoughts and opinions when discussing the care of their baby. Ward rounds include medical and nursing staff and often include others such as physiotherapist, pharmacist and speech/ language therapist. Ward rounds commence at approximately 9.30

Baby rest time
We endeavour to have quiet hour daily between 2.00-3.00pm.

Visiting information

Open access so parents can visit any time.

Open access with parents.

Any time but must be accompanied by a parent.

Family and Friends
Any time but must be accompanied by a parent.

Number of visitors
3 only at cot side at any given time, this must include a parent.

No children under 16 years unless siblings, no visitor will be allowed to visit baby unless accompanied by a parent.The unit can be very busy and there may be times when you are asked to leave the bays for procedures, x-rays etc. Occasionally restrictions may be in place, please check with staff. For confidentiality we would also ask parents to leave during nursing handovers 0730-0800 and 2000-2030 Any information via telephone will only be given to parents.

Hygiene and infection prevention
To minimize the risk of infection ALL VISITORS to gel hands on entering and leaving the unit and wash hands on entering the bays. We operate a ‘bare below elbow’ policy, therefore jewellery (with exception of plain wedding bands) and watches must be removed before entering the bays.

Outdoor coats to be removed before entering the bays – coat pegs available in each area.

If you are unwell please seek advice before visiting the unit

By car

Car parking charges
RVI parking space can be very limited but there is also access to the multi-storey car park within the hospital grounds. The Park and Ride facility is also an option where you can park within another Newcastle Hospitals site (CAV) for £1 per day and the hopper service will bring you across to the RVI site. For further information please ask staff.

We aim to support parents with parking charges – please see staff for details

RVI charges

  • 0 to 5 hours – £1.20 per hour(or part hour)
  • 6 to 24 hours (Mon-Fri) – £7.20
  • 3 to 24 hours (Sat and Sun) – £3.60

Multi-storey Charges

  • 0 to 5 hours – £1.30 per hour
  • 5 to 10 hours – £8.00
  • 10 to 24 hour – £14.00
  • Sunday parking – £1.30 per hour up to 5 hours and £6.00 up to 24 hours if the fifth hour before midnight

Parking permits are available in some cases – please ask for details

Public Transport

For information on all public transport in Tyne & Wear visit:

Bus: Both HAYMARKET bus station and ELDON SQUARE bus station are a short distance from the RVI

Metro: HAYMARKET Metro station and ST JAMES Metro station are nearest metro links

Train: Newcastle Central Station


Cashpoint machine
Situated in Leazes wing reception, which is on level 3 (ground level) and in Amigos shop New Victoria Wing.

Catering/refreshment facilities (in the hospital)
We have a snacks fridge on the unit which has sandwiches, yoghurts, fruit, crisps etc available for parents. There is a food court available on site within the hospital just a few minutes’ walk from the unit as well as a Costa Coffee shop and Newsagents store located on the floor directly below. The New Victoria Wing also hosts Amigos newsagents, Costa Coffee and a Pharmacy. WRVS also has cafes/shop around the hospital – limited opening times so please check with staff Newcastle City Centre is a short walk from the hospital with all the amenities of the city.
City centre map »

Regardless of religion or faith the multi-disciplinary team provides recourses to help meet your religious or spiritual needs whilst in hospital. The service provides opportunities for quiet times, reflection or worship either at the bedside or within the chapel, available 24 hours a day for patients, visitors and carers.
Contact 0191 2448129 08.30-5.00pm or 0191 2336161 (on call service)

Patient Advocacy Liaison Service (PALS)
Free, confidential service for all patients, relatives and carers.

Freephone: 0800 032 0202 (Mon-Fri 09.00-4.30pm answer phone available)
Interpreting services
Interpreting services can be arranged by neonatal staff if required. Please ask for further details.

Access to a midwife
If you require access to a midwife either as a planned check or as an emergency this can be arranged, please ask a member of the nursing team.