Neonatal units (UC)


At the Royal Free London, special care is provided for babies who need to be monitored closely because they have been born early or are unwell. This service is available at both Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital. Intensive care for more premature or unwell babies who need specialist care is located at Barnet Hospital only. Both units work closely together sharing policies and guidelines to provide the right care closest to home. Babies are moved between the two units depending on clinical needs.

Starlight neonatal unit - Barnet Hospital

The Starlight neonatal unit at Barnet Hospital has 30 cots for babies born from 27 weeks gestation onwards. We provide different levels of care depending on a baby’s development and condition, including short term neonatal intensive care for newborn babies. The Starlight unit is the first UK neonatal unit to provide 10 individualised care rooms that allow family centred developmental care where parents can stay throughout the neonatal journey; this allows parents to learn valuable skills and knowledge while being supported by trained staff in order to confidently care for their baby.

Neonatal unit, 6 West B - Royal Free Hospital

The neonatal unit on ward 6 West B at the Royal Free Hospital offers care to infants of 34 weeks gestation and above in order to support the establishment of feeding and growing. Intensive care is not available at the Royal Free Hospital. Babies requiring intensive care are transferred to Barnet Hospital by a designated medical transport team. The Royal Free Hospital offers 'rooming-in' rooms for parents to stay in the 24 hour period prior to discharge with their baby in order to care for their infants and develop knowledge and confidence while still being supported on the unit by nursing staff. 

Babies who require specialist neonatal care at Barnet Hospital or other hospitals may be transferred back to the Royal Free Hospital when they are stable for continuing care.

The neonatal unit can be a busy place with unfamiliar sights and sounds. The nursing and medical team will involve you with the care and keep you up to date about your baby’s care needs. Once your baby is getting better and needs less support they will be transferred either to HDU or SCBU nurseries.


Do you have an appointment?

Find your ward

  • • Barnet Hospital

    Wellhouse Lane
    EN5 3DJ

    Switchboard: 020 8216 4600      Starlight Neonatal Unit: 020 8216 5160          

  • • Royal Free Hospital

    Pond Street
    NW3 2QG

    Switchboard: 020 7794 0500      6 West B: 020 7830 2733   

Hospital locations


Referral details

We accept referrals directly from our maternity units for babies who need neonatal care. We also accept babies from 27 weeks onwards to our neonatal unit at Barnet Hospital and 34 weeks onwards to our neonatal unit at Royal Free Hospital who require intensive or high dependency care, transferred before or after birth from other neonatal units. 

Babies may also be referred to us from level 3 units for ongoing care.

The neonatal units at the Barnet and Royal Free London Hospitals are a part of the London Neonatal Operational Delivery Network (ODN) consisting of 27 hospitals across London working closely together to provide neonatal care. The North Central London neonatal network is a part of the London ODN and consists of the following hospitals:

  • Barnet Hospital
  • Royal Free Hospital
  • University College Hospital
  • Whittington Hospital

Together the hospitals create a smooth pathway for your baby and your family and deliver the right care as close as possible to home.  The network is supported by a dedicated Neonatal Transport Service. 

When your baby no longer needs the level of care provided at Barnet Hospital, we will arrange for your baby to be transferred back to your local hospital. Transferring your baby back to your local hospital is beneficial for many reasons: it makes it easier for you and your family to visit your baby, it allows the doctors at your local hospital to get to know you and your baby and it allows for your baby’s follow-up clinic appointments to be organised. We understand that the idea of your baby being transferred to another hospital can be stressful. Please be assured that we only arrange the transfer when we are sure that it is the right time for your baby.

The Team

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