Different levels of neonatal care

There are different levels of care within the NHS. Your baby will be admitted to the level that is most appropriate, depending on their needs.

Level 1 Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

SCBU is for babies who need continuous monitoring of their breathing or heart rate, additional oxygen tube feeding, phototherapy recovery (to treat neonatal jaundice) and convalescence from other care.

Level 2 Local Neonatal Unit (LNU)

LNU is for babies needing short-term intensive care with apnoeic attacks who require support, including receiving continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Some babies receiving parenteral nutrition (tube feeding) may also need this level of care.

Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

NICU is for babies needing respiratory support (ventilation) weighing less than 1,000g, born at less than 28 weeks gestation and needing significant CPAP support (continuous positive airway pressure). Babies with severe respiratory disease who also require surgery may need this level of care too.

In addition to the three levels of care with neonatal units, there is a fourth level, transitional care.

Transitional Care

This level of care means your baby still has some needs but is almost ready to go home. Most importantly, the mum becomes the main carer with support from a nursery nurse or other staff on the unit.

Babies born before 32 weeks

Download the Bliss Family Handbook, our comprehensive guide to help you understand your baby's neonatal intensive care

Different levels of neonatal care

Babies born after 32 weeks

Download Your Special Care Baby, our comprehensive guide to help you understand your baby's neonatal care

Different levels of neonatal care