NETS receives over 3,600 calls annually from health professionals across
NSW and elsewhere. The purpose is to discuss a sick or injured baby, infant
or child. While the intention might be to transfer the child to another
hospital, the outcome of the calls can be summarised as follows:
Of the 10 calls taken each day, 6 are moved by NETS, 2 are moved by other
service, including to regional centres closer to the patient. The remaining
2 are not transferred and continue to be cared for in the local hospital.
The 6 calls resulting in a "retrieval" be a NETS team comprise 4 which use
one of the specially configured NETS ambulances and 1 each by plane and
The process involves clinical conferences with several medical specialists
conferring with the referring doctor about the patient. It is common for
multiple conversations to occur; especially regarding the sickest patients
and the patients for whom a careful decision is required to determine it is
safe to travel to a regional centre or not travel at all.
The majority of children and babies retrieved are taken to specialist
neonatal or paediatric centres in Sydney, Newcastle or Canberra. Where
clinically appropriate, the patient is transported to a regional hospital
outside these cities. Some transfers are to tertiary hospitals in other
Almost half of the children moved by NETS are newborns (babies up to 28
days of age). The remainder are infants and children up to the age of 16
One in 49 will travel with NETS; at some stage of their childhood. When
Sydney is excluded, the likelihood increases to 1 in 38. That's just about
one child in every class room!