Non Emergency Newborn Transport Service

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Non Emergency Newborn Transport Service

NETS returns babies to hospitals closer to home after they no longer need intensive care. This service has operated for years at the John Hunter Children's Hospital and the Canberra Hospital where nursing staff from the neonatal intensive care units of those hospitals. NETS coordinates the road and air transport of these patients, supported by NETS' ambulances and Emergency Vehicle Operators (EVOs). For longer missions, Air Ambulance Flight Nurses are used as well.

From 6 October 2020 an additional service was established in Sydney serving the neonatal intensive care units of Sydney and the Level 4 special care units of 'greater' Sydney; from Wollongong to Gosford. The Sydney service operates using non-emergency nurses specifically employed for this purpose and with Level 2 life support systems designed for one or two babies to be moved at once. NETS ambulances operated by EVOs complete the team which take patients distances of up to about 3 hours driving time away from the sending hospital.

Initially there are three teams each weekday and one on weekends. A nurse scheduler coordinates the activity.

These non-emergency transfers are key to ensuring that care is as close to home as possible. Premature babies can need up to 4 months in hospital and most of that time doesn't need to be in a neonatal intensive care unit. When a baby reaches a stage in care when the equivalent care can be provided more locally, that is the time to aim for transfer.

Some of these babies may need to return to neonatal intensive care for appointments such as for retinopathy review. The Service brings these babies back to such appointments and then, in another booking NETS will return them back to the local hospital.
Somewhat sicker babies, still needing respiratory support such as Humidified High Flow or CPAP or other special treatments will continue to be moved by NETS' medical retrieval teams from neonatal intensive care to Level 4 special care units.