The Royal Free has a level 1 neonatal unit for babies born at 34 weeks gestation or over. There are 14 special care cots and two emergency cots so staff can stabilise and treat critically ill babies before transferring them to another unit.
The unit is run by neonatal trained nurses and consultant paediatricians who provide highly specialised care such as tube feeding and nasal oxygen for larger, pre-term babies and for the small proportion of full-term babies who need extra support during the first few days of life.
The expert team includes nurse practitioners who have a higher level of skills and can stabilise very sick babies and carry out clinical procedures which elsewhere would be performed by a doctor.
The unit operates within a network of other similar units across north London, concentrating on development care and supporting discharge home. The Matron is in charge of making sure the unit meets the highest safety, hygiene and quality standards.