Unplanned transfers


The referral process for both planned and unplanned transfers is included in the SONeT referral process for local hospitals

Please call the SONeT call centre as soon as you suspect a baby might need transferring for intensive or specialist care.

Emergency unplanned transfers are usually babies needing neonatal intensive care or specialist services not provided in their local hospital. Calls made early in the process will allow us to give advice that will assist you in caring for the patient prior to transfer, and could even prevent the need for transfer to a NICU.

The call centre administrator will require the following unplanned referral information to coordinate the relevant transport team, additional specialist clinicians and the receiving unit if required.

Our transport team will be included in the conversation at the start of the process. Please use the unplanned clinical information form at referral to gather the information that will be requested during the referral call.

During the call, clinical information will be taken and a decision will be made as to whether our team needs to be mobilised or whether we can continue to jointly manage the patient with the local hospital. If the baby is to be retrieved, the referring hospital transfer checklist should be completed to aid management prior to the arrival of the team. Parents may also wish to read our SONeT parent information leaflet

The baby will be transferred to the nearest available NICU which has the services their condition requires.

Additional services in Oxford and Southampton are neonatal surgical and sub specialist services, with cardiothoracic services also in Southampton. Should a bed not be available in Oxford, Portsmouth or Southampton, we will locate and transfer the baby to the nearest NICU out of region.

Should air transportation be required we will provide specific advice about the process and support arrangements for the transfer.