About the Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PICU/NICU)

Our aim is to provide excellent care to critically ill children in an environment that is sensitive to the needs of the child and the family.

We are the lead centre for paediatric intensive care in North Thames and a recognised centre for training in paediatric intensive care medicine. Our intensive care unit is one of the largest for children in the UK and Europe.

There are two distinct units: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), however they work closely together.

Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

Approximately 1,200 patients per year are admitted to PICU. Our patients come from the North Thames area and also further afield from all over the UK and abroad. This reflects the wide range of specialist services that can be provided for critically ill children in our unit.

We offer support and services for our colleagues in other specialities such as general surgery, oncology, neurology, metabolic medicine, renal, spinal surgery, ENT, respiratory and endocrinology. Nine in ten children and infants admitted to PICU are ventilated.

GOSH is the only UK centre for the treatment of infants with Vein of Galen who often require intensive care services. We are one of the two London centres for children requiring neurosurgery and intensive care in London.

Our staff on PICU are acutely aware of the stress suffered by parents and relatives of children who are admitted to the unit and have developed a large support network. We have a team of family liaison nurses, a play specialist, accessibility to interpreters, social workers and psychological support for those who need it.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Our NICU treats approximately 500 patients per year. There are no maternity services within GOSH so this is not a traditional NICU.

The NICU primarily admits general surgical neonates referred from other hospitals, they are often preterm but not necessarily so. We often treat neonates with necrotising enterocolitis, bowel obstruction, oesophageal atresia, tracheoesophageal fistulae and other congenital anomalies.

Neonates with complex medical and surgical problems from other specialties are also admitted.

There is extensive research by both surgical and medical teams into causes and treatments for necrotising enterocolitis in neonates.

The NICU is part of the North Thames Central Neonatal Network. In this collaboration we aim to provide the best service possible for neonates by sharing best practice and service opportunities with our colleagues in UCLH, Whittingdon, Royal Free, Chase Farm and Barnet. We have regular meetings with colleagues from UCH neonatal unit to discuss shared patients and best practice.

Our staff on NICU also have a strong support network for families and there are regular midwife clinics, family liaison nurses, psychological support and breast feeding specialists available.