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Oxford Newborn Care Unit

Information alert box Knitted items - December 2023

We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of people who have knitted items for babies on the Newborn Care Unit – as a result we have more knitted hats than we need. If you would like to knit for our babies, please contact us first for further information.

Welcome to the Newborn Care Unit (also known as the Neonatal Unit) at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. We provide specialist medical and surgical care for babies across the Thames Valley Neonatal Network.

All expectant parents hope their babies will be healthy, but sometimes problems arise, such as antenatal concerns requiring monitoring or treatment, premature birth or a difficult delivery.

It can be very stressful when your baby is admitted to Newborn Care, but the healthcare professionals in the Newborn Care Unit will do their best to support you. It can be very helpful to be involved in your baby's care, and we will encourage this.

We also have many newborn care leaflets available to give you the information you need.

Once your baby has settled in, they will receive care tailored to their specific needs. The doctors will update you regularly on the condition of your baby and the nurse caring for your baby on any shift will be available at any time to update you on any changes.

We have a 24-hour phone number for parents, to ensure you can always speak to the nurse caring for your baby.

Find us and contact us

How to find the John Radcliffe Hospital

Oxford Newborn Care Unit is in the John Radcliffe Hospital Women's Centre, at the top of the John Radcliffe Hospital site.

John Radcliffe Hospital site map (pdf)

Enter via the Maternity entrance on Level 2 of the Women's Centre, and ask at reception or follow directions for Newborn Care.

Oxford Newborn Care Unit Secretaries: 01865 221355

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) looks after babies from extremely premature neonates, term neonates who have had difficult deliveries and babies with antenatally diagnosed conditions.

A baby in NICU is cared for by a nurse who may also have one other patient, depending on the level of nursing care needed. A baby in NICU may require invasive respiratory support from a ventilator and complex medications. The nurses on NICU have all had specific Neonatal Intensive Care training so your baby is in safe hands.

There is a Nurse in Charge on each shift who is easily identifiable by their yellow Nurse in Charge badge.

Once your baby is stable and old enough, we will transfer them back to your local unit, to make space for other babies who require Level 3 care - we will give you as much notice as possible before this happens.

If you live in Oxford, your baby will move to our HDU or LDU when they are old enough and well enough.

High Dependency Unit

The Neonatal High Dependency Unit (HDU) looks after premature and term babies who do not need intensive care.

Extremely premature babies who are cared for in NICU will eventually move to HDU when they are well enough. Some babies born prematurely can be admitted straight to HDU along with term babies who need additional support.

Babies can be cared for in HDU on non-invasive respiratory support, feeding and fluid support and as well as for other neonatal therapies such as phototherapy for jaundice.

A baby on HDU is cared for by a nurse who cares for up to two other patients, depending on the level of nursing care needed. This means the nurse will not be at the bedside continuously, but monitors displaying each babies' observations are visible at all times and will alert the nurses to any problems.

Low Dependency Unit

The Neonatal Low Dependency Unit (LDU) looks after babies who no longer need ITU or HDU levels of care.

Nursery nurses can care for up to four babies so will not be constantly at the bedside - your baby will have a saturation monitor or a special mattress which will alert the nursery nurses to any problems.

Babies cared for in LDU may require feeding and growing support, as well as long-term respiratory support that can continue at home, such as Low Flow Therapy.

Our nursery nurses are trained to help and support parents to care for their baby independently. LDU also offers parents basic life support sessions before they take their baby home.


Please visit Parent accommodation


The Southampton Oxford Neonatal Transport (SONeT) team is a collaboration between Oxford and Southampton neonatal intensive care units, providing a 24-hour, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year intensive care and transfer service to hospitals in the Thames Valley and Wessex region.

Depending on clinical need, SONeT provides advice or patient transfers. They will locate the closest appropriate level neonatal cot to your local hospital and transfer your baby. If there is no suitable NICU cot within the network (Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton) they will find a cot in the nearest NICU.

The SONeT team comprises a doctor or Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (ANNP) and a specialist transport nurse. A NICU transport consultant is available at all times for advice, if not physically part of the team.

SONeT is also responsible for moving your baby back to your local unit, when they are old and well enough.

Southampton Oxford Neonatal Transport (SONeT)


Support groups

Support for Sick Newborn and their Parents (SSNAP)

Oxford Newborn Care Unit is supported by the registered charity, Support for Sick Newborn and their Parents (SSNAP).

Support for Sick Newborn and their Parents (SSNAP)

Tel: 01865 221359

Bereavement support

Bereavement services following late miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death

Infant feeding

Prematurity information

Having a premature baby - Tommys

Screening tests

Transport service

Southampton Oxford Neonatal Transport (SONeT)

Work for us

We are currently recruiting staff for our Newborn Care Unit.

Please contact us for details.

Oxford International Neonatal and Paediatric Fellowship Scheme

This scheme is for non-UK / EEA paediatricians, with MRCPCH or other such postgraduate qualifications, to undertake high quality postgraduate training in paediatrics for a maximum of 24 months, before returning to work in their home countries.

Oxford International Neonatal and Paediatric Fellowship Scheme

Last reviewed:01 December 2023