Special Care Baby Unit

The special care baby unit at the University Hospital of North Tees provides specialist medical treatment and care to hundreds of premature and sick babies every year.

We know that having a baby in special care is a worrying time for parents and their families but you can be reassured that we will take good care of you and your baby.

Our team of consultants, neonatal and specialist nurses provide care on the unit, which has 11 cots providing different levels of care depending on the needs of the baby. These levels of care are known as special care and transitional care for when a baby still needs some medical treatment, but does not need to be separated from their mother and also for babies who are almost ready to go home.

The unit offers specialist care and treatment for babies born locally or from outside the area. We have a family room for parents who have very poorly babies or for parents who are from out of the area, where they are welcome to stay over.

Occasionally babies need to be transferred to other hospitals for more specialist treatment and therefore will be transported by the Northern Neonatal Transport Service to the necessary place of care.

The progress and treatment of each baby in special care is discussed by a team of doctors every day, led by a consultant. If necessary the consultant may refer your baby to other specialists. You can ask to discuss any concerns you may have about your baby with a consultant. Just speak to your nurse and they will arrange for this for you.

Thank you so much for all the help, care and support you provided to our two precious girls. It really meant a lot. We won’t forget you.

Visiting the special care baby unit

You are encouraged to spend as much time with your baby as possible. We realise that family and friends are also keen to see the new arrival and also provide support to the parents. However, we have a duty to protect both baby and parents and we have to limit the time and number of visitors to prevent possible exposure to infection.

Visiting times

Parents and siblings of the baby are welcome anytime during the day and evening, but we ask that you leave or do not enter the nursery during our handover times at 7am and 7pm.

The only other times that parents would be asked to leave is if other babies are having procedures undertaken or if the ward round was taking place and the other babies within the nursery are being discussed. However, parents are encouraged to stay or be present while their own baby is being discussed.

Due to limited space around the cot areas there is a maximum of three visitors allowed at any one time. One must be a parent of the baby. Food and hot drinks should not be taken into the nursery.

Quiet time

Between 1pm and 3pm we have quiet time to provide a time of peace and tranquility in the rooms. During this time babies are not disturbed unless essential treatment or care is required.

What to do when you arrive at the unit

For the safety of the babies the special care baby unit has a locked entrance. This means that entry is permitted only to parents and visitors once they have identified themselves using the intercom system.

To enter the unit you should press the buzzer on the left hand side of the entrance and we will let you in.

You will need to remove your outdoor coats and place them on designated hooks outside the parents’ sitting room. Please take all personal belongings with you and don’t leave any valuables.

There is kitchen area for parents to make hot drinks. Food can be brought in and can be eaten in the parents’ sitting room. Iced drinking water is also available.

Myself and my family would just like to say a very big thank you for all the care and attention you showed and gave William while on the unit. He truly would not have come this far without the care all members of staff gave and we will never forget your kindness.

Hand washing

The best way to protect your baby from infection is to wash your hands. Each time you enter the nursery we ask that you remove rings, watches and bracelets (you can wear your wedding rings only).

You will need to roll up long sleeves and wash your hands and as far as your elbow. This is very important that everyone who has contact with any baby within the unit does this.

In between hand washing you must use the hand gel provided whenever you put your hands in the incubator or you are about to handle your baby in their cot.

Visiting if you are unwell

Please could visitors avoid coming to the unit if they are unwell. If parents are unwell they should take advice from the nurse looking after their baby to find out if it is safe for them to visit as infection is a risk to a sick or premature baby.


Special Care Baby Unit
Ward 23
Second floor, tower block
University Hospital of North Tees
01642 382723

Useful links

Bliss – Baby Life support systems

National Childbirth Trust

Walking with Grace

North Tees neonatal parents – Facebook support group

Twins and Multiple Births Association

La Leche breastfeeding support