Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), High Dependency Unit (HDU)

Neonatal Unit and underneath: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)- updated information for visitors

We have some visiting restrictions at this time.

Siblings, other family members and friends will not be allowed to visit, and we ask that they do not attend the hospital site. This will help us to minimise the number of people in the hospital and reduce the risk of spreading infection to keep you and your family safe.  

There may be exceptional circumstances to this, which we will discuss with you on an individual basis.

Read our latest information on coronavirus.


Map to the Neonatal Unit at St Thomas'Sixth floor, North Wing, St Thomas' Hospital.

Directions: turn right at St Thomas' main reception, walk past the toilets and shop and turn left into the North Wing lift A lobby. Take any lift up to the sixth floor.

The Neonatal Unit provides 24-hour care for premature and sick babies. It is divided into three areas.

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – provides support for babies with breathing problems and other specialist treatment needs
  • High Dependency Unit (HDU) – provides support for babies who require less intensive care than babies in NICU, but are still not stable enough for care in the SCBU
  • Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) – provides support for babies who need tube feeding, additional oxygen support and light therapy (phototherapy).

We have 20 intensive care cots, 12 high dependency care cots and 14 special care cots.

For more information about neonatal services at St Thomas' and in the community, visit our neonatal care pages.

Information for visitors

  • Parents can visit their child at any time
  • Please switch your mobile phone to silent – if you need to use it, please do so in the main reception or lift lobby
  • Always wash your hands when you enter or leave the ward and your baby's room to reduce the risk of infection. Removing your coat and outdoor clothing when you first arrive also helps prevent the spread of infection. You can use the lockers provided to store your coat.

Parents’ accommodation

After birth, new mothers are cared for on the postnatal ward located opposite the Neonatal Unit.  

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide accommodation on the unit itself. For information about places to stay, see accommodation.

Parents’ room

There’s a room just off the main reception where you can rest, watch television and make something to eat or drink. You can store food in the fridge, but please make sure you label it with your name and date.

This room is not for visitors and if you bring your children with you, you must supervise them at all times. 

Developmental care

To help with your baby's development we:

  • Have a 'quiet time' when we we try not to disturb your baby. Visitors are allowed during this time, but are asked to be as quiet as possible. Quiet time is 1pm-3pm.
  • Aim to reduce the noise and lighting at all times.
  • May use incubator covers or swaddle your baby.
  • Encourage you to breastfeed or express breast milk, as this is best for your baby, particularly if he/she is premature or unwell. Staff are available to help you with feeding or expressing milk for your baby. 

Your nurse

At the start of each shift, you child will be allocated a nurse who will introduce themselves to you. This is generally the best person to ask if you need help, but please don’t hesitate to ask another member of staff for assistance.

Your doctor

The doctors involved in your baby's care do a ward round every morning. This is a good time to ask questions.

If your baby has been transferred to our unit from another hospital, we will assess him/her on a daily basis. When well enough, your baby will be transferred back to your local hospital. 


Main reception: 020 7188 4045

NICU nurses station: 020 7188 8847

SCBU and HDU nurses station: 020 7188 8846 

Lead nurse: Alex Phillips

Matron: Patrick Desmonde

Access guides

View access guide to the Neonatal unit to help you get around the hospital.


Donate now

Donations from people like you help us go above and beyond for our young patients.

You can donate to our fundraising charity online.

Or if you'd like to make a donation to your child's ward, please speak to the nurse charge.