Caring for your Child

Caring for your Child

Your Child's Hospital Journey

York Hospital Special Care Baby Unit

York Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is designated as a Local Neonatal Unit (LNU) and provides local care for babies weighing more than 800gms at birth, or those born at 27 weeks gestation and above (more than 28 weeks for multiple pregnancies).

The unit provides high quality, evidence-based medical and nursing care to babies that are born prematurely or are unwell. We work closely with the Yorkshire and Humber neonatal network, infant retrieval service (Embrace) and specialist units in the region to provide a comprehensive range of care.

The unit is actively involved in regional and national research projects and parents may be approached during their baby’s stay to discuss possible participation in current studies.

The quality and safety of care provided is reviewed locally and nationally through initiatives such as the National Neonatal Audit Project (NNAP).

The unit works closely with families and members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure a smooth discharge from hospital.  Once home, where appropriate, highly experienced neonatal nurses provide a support service to babies and families in the community. 

The care on the unit is enhanced by the work of the parent and staff led SCBU support group.

This service is managed jointly by neonatal nurses and general paediatric medical staff.

We admit approximately 375 babies per year from our local delivery and post natal wards as well as transfers in from other regional neonatal units.

Visiting the ward?

The Unit is located via Junction 8 on the ground floor of York Hospital. Access via Maternity Entrance or South Entrance.

Parents and siblings are welcome to visit at any time.

Visiting times for grandparents are 2pm to 3:30pm and 6:30pm to 8pm. Grandparents must be accompanied by at least one of the parents.

In intensive care we will ask that visits by grandparents are limited to around 15 minutes. Please discuss this with the nurse caring for your baby.

There may be occasions when you are not able to go into the nursery straight away – the nursing staff will explain to you why at the time.

If any of your visitors are unwell please ask them not to visit the unit until they are well (anyone who has had a stomach bug must be symptom free for at least 48 hours before they visit).

What to bring in for your baby?

Nappies, cotton wool and baby wipes.

If it is less than 4 weeks until your baby was due:

Please bring along nappies and either cotton wool or baby wipes to SCBU for your baby. These will be stored in the cupboard under your baby’s incubator/cot.

If it is more than 4 weeks until your baby was due:

We will supply you with nappies and cotton wool during the first few days but after that please could you bring along nappies and either cotton wool or wipes for your baby. These will be stored in the cupboard under your baby’s incubator/cot.

If your baby weighs less than 1kg we will supply nappies for your baby until he/she is over 1kg as it is not possible to buy tiny nappies in the shops.

During your time on SCBU you may be asked to bring other bits and pieces in such as barrier cream (such as Sudocrem) if needed. You may also wish to bring your own towel to use for baby’s first bath or you can use a hospital towel.

Cuddly toys – there is limited space for cuddly toys so we ask that you don’t bring too many in (you can swap them over if you wish) and that you only place one cuddly toy at a time in the baby’s incubator. You may be asked to take large cuddly toys home as the ledges around the nurseries are not very big.

Feeding your baby

York Hospital has achieved UNICEF Baby friendly accreditation and the staff on SCBU are committed to supporting you in however you choose to feed your baby. The unit has a stock of humilactors (breast pumps) for loan whilst your baby is in hospital.

Caring for your baby

Both parents are encouraged to become involved with the care of their baby and the nursing staff will assist you in learning how to change nappies, wash your baby etc.

Car parking

Intensive care babies

You will be given a car park permit that lasts for three days (if your baby is still in intensive after that please ask the nursing staff for another permit again this will be for three days). You can park in the designated car parking area just past the maternity entrance. Display the permit on your dashboard – parking is free. Alternative parking is in the multi-storey car park (see below).

Special Care babies – all other nurseries

Please park in the multi-storey car park at the front of the hospital. Bring your car park ticket with you to the unit. When you are ready to leave please ask the nursing staff to validate your car park ticket. This allows you to park for free providing you leave the multi-storey car park within 30 minutes of the ticket being validated. For further information ask the nursing staff.

Please note that free parking is only available for the parents of the baby but there are exceptions, for example if you are reliant on a grandparent bringing you to the hospital (please discuss this with a member of staff).

Mobile phones

Although we would prefer that these are not used on the unit we appreciate that many parents do use them. Please do not use them in the intensive care nursery and wherever possible please use them away from the other nurseries and keep them on silent mode at all times (avoids confusion with monitor alarms as well as reduces noise).          


You may be asked to take a seat in the waiting area while the doctor is examining other babies in the nursery although you are very welcome to be present whilst your baby is being seen. This is to protect confidentiality. If you are feeding at the time you will not be asked to leave and the discussions about other babies will take place away from the nursery. Please feel free to ask the doctor about your baby. If you are not on the unit during the ward round which takes place on a morning and would like to see a doctor for an update on your baby please ask the nurse caring for your baby so that this can be arranged.

Please do not look into other baby’s cots/incubators unless invited to by the baby’s parents.

Key Contacts

Name  Title  Contact  
Vikki Smith Ward Sister SCBU  01904 726005
Dr Sunny Sandhu Lead Clinician 01904 725510 (secretary)

Useful websites and links