Emergency Referrals

Emergency Transfers

EBS 24-hour line: 0207 407 4999

All emergency referrals are taken via London EBS (Emergency Bed Service).  They will take the details of your patient and then connect your call to the appropriate NTS team member.  If you do not have a cot for the baby, EBS will also cot-locate for you. Please have to hand:

  • your patient’s demographic details including NHS number
  • key antenatal and resuscitation history
  • the latest vital signs, ventilator settings, blood gas and lab results
  • drugs and infusions given

To help with your referral, you may wish to:

  • download and fill out our referral form so that you have all the information to hand when you phone: download NTS referral form
  • read our page on preparing for transfer
  • view and download the NTS clinical guidelines  which can help you with a broad range of neonatal emergency topics
  • make use of the Neomate App to help with drug doses, ET tube and line lengths and common stabilisation issues

Which babies can NTS transfer as an emergency?

Babies admitted to a London neonatal unit requiring transfer for:

  • acute escalation of care, e.g. for more intensive medical treatment, a treatment not available at the referring unit, for surgical or other specialist intervention
  • admission to another neonatal unit for urgent specialist investigations (not outpatient appointments)
  • exceptionally, relocation of a baby when the referring unit is over cot capacity or has a severe staff shortage
  • repatriation of a stable ventilated baby to their local or network unit following admission at another unit

Which babies does NTS not usually transfer as an emergency?

  • babies for acute admission to the London PICUs, for urgent cardiac intervention or for ECMO will be discussed with CATS (North Thames) or STRS (South Thames) to consider the most appropriate team to undertake the transfer
  • babies that do not meet the above emergency criteria may be transferred using the elective service, please see below

If you are not sure whether your patient is suitable for emergency transfer by NTS, or if you would like more information about our process, please download the NTS Operational Remit.

How can I get further help with managing my baby?

NTS will also be able to advise you on the further stabilisation of your baby in liaison with the accepting unit.  For complex babies, our on-call consultant may be contacted via the telephone number above, and may choose to accompany the team.

Emergency transfers will usually take place in time order of referral, however time critical transfers or other clinical urgency may force us to prioritise another referral. If you need an update on NTS arrival time, please telephone EBS on the number above.


Elective Transfers

NTS Elective line: 0203 594 0888

The nurse-led elective team will transfer non-ventilated babies (self ventilating or on CPAP) over 1kg weight, usually to step down care to another unit within London.  Babies below 1kg may be considered if a doctor is available to accompany.  The team is available Mon-Friday 7.30am-7.30pm.  Transfers may be booked in advance or considered on the day if the team is free. We can now deliver all the common non-invasive ventilation modes on transport, including high flow nasal cannula (Vapotherm / Optiflow) and bi-level CPAP.  Consideration should also be given to the length of the journey and the baby’s feeding interval – we prefer not to feed en route if this can be avoided.

Long Distance Transfers

Long distance transfers can usually be undertaken, but do require careful planning for the safety of the baby and welfare of clinical staff. Transfers may be via road ambulance or fixed-wing plane depending on distance. These are usually repatriations into London where babies have been managed elsewhere in the country. Please contact the NTS office on the above elective number to discuss your requirements.