The London Neonatal Transfer Service undertook its first mission 29th October 2003. This followed a census conducted in 2001 on behalf of the Thames Regional Perinatal Group to assess the numbers and types of neonatal transfers in London and the south east of England. The census quantified the significant number of patient moves in the region and also demonstrated the delays experienced in organising and waiting for clinician and ambulance availability to carry out these transfers. The concept of training a dedicated core group of doctors, nurses and paramedics to undertake such work was agreed by the neonatal collaborative and taken forward. A key decision was to co-locate the ambulance service provision with the rest of the clinical team. In London the initial daytime only service quickly became a round the clock operation. A follow up census was carried out in 2004 showing a significant reduction in response times to patients. An indirect observation also showed a reduction in adverse events when such activity is carried out by trained teams transferring critically ill neonatal patients on a regular basis. Patient movements are carried out in line with network transfer guidelines.
London NTS has experienced rising numbers of referrals since its inception and has been funded to run an additional daytime emergency team as a trial for four months. If a positive impact is seen on dispatch & response times then an assessment will be made as to the viability of carrying the additional team into the next financial year in April 2015. The London team has had one of the top three levels of activity in the country out of the nineteen services in the UK since national benchmarking commenced in 2006.
London NTS runs a separately funded daytime elective team which is nurse led and facilitates patient repatriation and attendance at out-patient appointments Monday to Saturday.
The service has helped to facilitate two major neonatal neuroprotection trials (TOBY & TOBY Xe) by assisting with time critical moves. London NTS have produced a number of publications in peer reviewed journals as well as oral and poster presentations at many scientific meetings over the years; both national and international and is a member of the UK Neonatal Transport Group (BAPM affiliated).