Neonatal intensive unit

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

NICU - Ward logo of Teddy

Location: Level 1 in the Women and Children’s Unit at Peterborough City Hospital

Every parent hopes that their baby will be born healthy but for some families it will be necessary for their newborn to be admitted to NICU for stabilisation and care. The main reasons that babies need to be admitted to NICU include being born too early, being born too small or being born sick. Some parents may be aware that their baby will require NICU admission before their baby is born but for many families, their baby’s admission to NICU is unexpected and can be very upsetting


NICU is close to Delivery Suite and Theatres to make transfer of babies requiring extra care, quick and easy. We have 22 cots in addition to a range of facilities, to make the time that parents spend on NICU a little easier. For example, a family rest room is available at all times and three family room facilities for families to use prior to going home with their baby.

We are part of a regional network that works together to ensure our babies receive the best possible treatment and care – this network comprises sixteen hospitals and it covers Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Babies who need longer term intensive care, or babies who are born less than 26 weeks, are transferred out to one of the larger hospitals within our region by a specialist neonatal transport service. More often than not, babies from Peterborough City Hospital are transferred to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge but, occasionally it is necessary for babies to be transferred to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Luton and Dunstable Hospital or Great Ormond Street Hospital.

When babies are well enough to go home, we offer an outreach service that provides telephone support and advice in addition to appointments in your home. Our outreach service also runs baby clinics in the antenatal clinic on Monday afternoons and all day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Parents are encouraged to participate in the planning and delivery of care to their baby – however, the extent of their involvement may depend upon factors such as their baby’s condition and their own levels of confidence.  We encourage all parents to do as much as they feel able to do and we support parents to learn to care for their baby. For example, giving feeds via a feeding tube, changing nappies and giving mouth-care and eye-care. We also support and encourage mothers to express their breastmilk for their baby as this is of particular importance to small or sick babies.

As the NICU is the first nursery for many babies, we also encourage parents to bring in items that will help to personalise their baby’s cot space or that they know are going to be ‘special’ items to their baby as they grow. Items such as teddy bears, blankets, comforters and family photographs are all lovely additions to a cot or incubator and help to make a baby’s cot look less clinical and more homely. When babies are able to be dressed, we also welcome clothing that may have been purchased especially for the new arrival – nursing staff will be happy to help and advice upon when it is possible to dress your baby and the type of clothing that is likely to be most appropriate.

If any parents wish to discuss any issues regarding their baby or their home circumstances they may either speak to the nurse/midwife caring for their baby or ask to speak to the neonatal unit manager. Parents have access to medical staff at all times, and an appointment can be made to speak with the consultant with overall responsibility for your baby’s care. 



We completely understand that parents struggle when they are separated from their baby and because of this, we have 24 hour visiting for parents to ensure that they have unrestricted access to their baby. Siblings may accompany parents when they visit but we do request that young children do not visit NICU after 8pm – we do not allow children other than siblings to visit NICU.

Additional visitors are welcome during our visiting times of 2pm until 4pm and 6pm until 8pm – we respectfully request that visitors do not visit outside of these hours but, on the occasions where it is necessary for a visitor to visit outside of these hours, permission must be gained from the nurse in charge. Two visitors, in addition to the baby’s parents, may visit the baby, with additional visitors being required to wait in the NICU waiting area – this is to minimise overcrowding and noise and also to enable nursing staff to quickly and easily reach a baby if a problem occurs.

We have ‘Quiet Time’ between 4pm and 6pm which is strictly parents only – this is part of our Developmental Care programme to help stabilise the babies that are receiving care on NICU and to facilitate their recovery and development.

As with the rest of the maternity unit, NICU has a very strict hygiene policy. We ask that all visitor’s, staff and parents:

  • Wash their hands on entering and exiting the unit and use the hand gel provided at each cot;
  • Remove outdoor coats prior to entering NICU;
  • Do not bring flowers onto NICU;
  • Please stay away from NICU if unwell in any way and especially if suffering from a cough, cold, diarrhoea, vomiting, chicken pox, shingles, measles or any other infections illness.

 We also request that mobile devices are used sparingly whilst on NICU and that they are switched to ‘Airplane mode’ for the duration of your visit.