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Special Care Baby Unit

For most parents the arrival of a new son or daughter is a time of great happiness and excitement. At St. Mary’s Hospital there are around 1,000 births each year. Although the majority of the babies born are well, a number of them will experience some difficulties which require them to be admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) for parents this can be a time of worry.

Information regarding a baby's condition will only be provided to the parents and other health professionals, such as the baby’s G.P. or health visitor. The unit has a direct telephone line which is available for parents use only. Information cannot be provided to other members of the family or friends.

Direct Dial Telephone number: 01983 822099 Ext. 4337


Visiting the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)


The SCBU operates an open visiting policy for parents, grandparents and siblings. Any other visitors will be required to provide their names, and we allow a maximum of 3 people to a cot side at any one time.


A parent must accompany all visitors. In exceptional circumstances, parents may wish to nominate a grandparent or relative to visit in their absence.


Visitors are kindly asked to adhere to the following:


  • Try and coincide your visits with your baby's care i.e. feed times. This helps promote maximum rest and growth for your baby.
  • Tell a member of staff when you arrive and depart the ward.
  • Please remove your outdoor coat or jacket before entering your baby's room and hang on the coat hooks provided by the disabled toilet - please remember to remove valuables from your pockets.
  • Please ensure you wash your hands thoroughly on entering or leaving the unit as well as before and after handling your baby.
  • Please respect other patients and parents when visiting, we will not provide information on other babies in the unit and try to keep noise to a minimum.
  • Do not visit if you or any visiting children have any infection including 48 hours after having a stomach upset. You may still be infectious, if in doubt call the unit for advice prior to visiting.
  • If you are a parent please provide staff with your vehicle registration number to enable you to access free parking.
  • If visiting during unsociable hours, please report to the nurse in charge.

The unit provides a high standard of care for babies and their families in an environment which is safe and secure. It is located on the same floor as the Maternity department at St. Mary’s Hospital enabling babies that require care to be closer to their mothers. It is spacious and modern and accommodates the needs of mothers, babies and their families.


We have 6 cots in total.  There are 2 single nurseries, a 2 bed nursery and a stabilisation room. Each cot space in the multi nurseries has its own individual lighting, oxygen and power supplies and can be curtained off to provide privacy for the baby and their parents when required. We also provide Transitional Care on the postnatal ward for babies that need some medical treatment but who do not need to be admitted to the Unit.


There are onsite play facilities to entertain brothers and sisters whilst parents take care of the new baby. Limited overnight accommodation may be available for parents to room in with their baby prior to discharge. Tea and coffee facilities are also available for parents who want to spend the day on the unit.


For families who need a quiet space in which to come to terms with their baby's illness, a quiet/counselling room is provided to offer support. There is an outpatient clinic room where babies are seen by a doctor on a Monday or Friday after they go home.


A support group coffee morning is held on the unit in the day room every Monday between 11am & 1pm. All in-patient, clinic attenders and ex neonate families are welcome to attend for coffee and a chat.

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