Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit also known as Dolphin Ward lives within the Heart and Lung directorate. It has ten cots for babies and infants with a variety of conditions that require intensive care support 

We have 2 cubicles, all other beds are on the open ward area. 

Around 500 babies a year from across the UK are treated on NICU.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Level 4, Variety Club Building Great Ormond Street Hospital, Great Ormond Street London WC1N 3JH 

If your child has any additional needs, please call in advance to let us know. 

NICU Ward telephone number: 020 7829 8812

Who you will meet

NICU is led by a team of consultants (doctors), who specialise in Neonatal Intensive Care. 

Key staff 

  • Speciality Lead: Simon Hannam
  • Matron: Deborah Lees
  • Lead Sisters: Annabel Linger & Emma Hart
  • Family Liaison Sisters: Esther Rose, Emily Cantrell and Katie Dettmer 

Other staff who work on the ward include doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, students, health care assistants, ventilator technicians, physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists, housekeepers, family liaison nurses, play specialists, psychologists, social workers, chaplains, interpreters and volunteers. 

Conditions we treat

NICU treats babies and infants with a variety of serious medical and surgical conditions that require intensive care support. 
The special areas of expertise include:

  • Neonates needing surgery for necrotising enterocolitis, bowel obstruction, oesophageal atresia and other congenital anomalies.
  • Neonates with other complex medical and surgical problems such as laryngeal clefts, sacrococcygeal teratomas.
  • Neonates with medical conditions, such as Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), Meconium aspiration syndrome 


You can learn more about our clinical specialty by visiting:

Ward Information

There are two consultants on duty on NICU each 24hrs. One covering the day and one the night. They are responsible for the clinical care of your child and update all families during the day regarding their child’s medical condition. 

Having a child admitted to NICU is very often a shock for parents, and can be bewildering as everything is unfamiliar. 

Please remember that everybody on the unit is here to help you and your child, and you should feel free to ask any questions or query anything you don’t understand or are uncomfortable with. 

Security and fire

For security reasons, the doors to NICU are kept locked. Please ring the bell and when asked, state who you are and the name of the child you have come to visit. 

All members of staff must wear an identity badge at all times. If someone not wearing an identity badge approaches you or your child at any time, please check with a member of staff. If you are at all worried, please call security on extension 5999

The following are NOT allowed on NICU: 

  • Flowers – water in the vase can develop a bacterium that can cause infection in children.
  • Balloons of any kind
  • Hot drinks or food. 

Visiting your child at GOSH

We encourage parents to visit and stay as long as possible, and you are welcome to visit your child at any time, day or night, although all visitors including parents have to leave the unit during the morning ward round and when emergency procedures are being carried out. Your child’s nurse will arrange a time for you to speak to the doctor after the ward round so that you can discuss your child’s progress. You are welcome to stay for the afternoon and evening ward rounds. 

Only three visitors can be at the cot side at a time, one of whom must be a parent. 

Brothers and sisters are welcome to visit but must always be supervised by a responsible adult. No other children should visit. 

Visitors may visit between 10am and 9pm. 

Anyone who has an infection should not visit until they are better. Please do not visit if you have a cold, cough or an upset stomach, or think you have recently been in contact with someone who has. You should wait until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours before you visit. No visiting sibling or child will be allowed in to the ward if they have or been in contact with chicken pox. If in doubt, please speak to your bedside nurse or the nurse in charge. When you visit, please wash your hands thoroughly before you enter the ward and use the alcohol gel provided at each ward door. 

If you have any questions about visiting, please telephone the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals) Office before you visit on 020 7829 7862. 

Information for parents 

When your child is in intensive care we are able to offer overnight accommodation for two parents or carers. This is free and all bed linen is provided, but you will need your own soap, towels and other supplies. 
We advise that, where possible, other children are left with relatives or friends at home. If this is not an option, the hospital has two houses as part of the Sick Children’s Trust which have free accommodation subject to very limited availability. 

The Parent Support Group is for any parent or carer of a child admitted to PICU/NICU. The group meets once a year and discusses what the unit is doing well, or how present practice might be improved. 

There is a Family Lounge with toys and a TV next to NICU, please do not take any hot drinks into the room. Children should always be supervised by an adult. There is also a Parent Lounge for adults only further along the corridor with facilities to make hot drinks and a microwave. There are lockers for parents’ belongings next to the Parent Lounge, please ask the ward administrators or bedside nurse for a key. 

Hot drinks or food of any kind are not allowed on NICU. There is a water fountain on the unit. 
Parents can buy food and drink in the various catering facilities in the hospital and local area. There is also the hospital shop, which sells refreshments and gifts. Within a 10-minute walk of the hospital there is a shopping centre and various supermarkets. 

There are 2 unisex toilets for parents and visitors along the corridor between NICU and PICU. 

NICU has a play specialist who can offer support and advice to parents on coping strategies for siblings of all ages. 
Brothers and sisters can also use the Activity Centre on the ground floor of the Southwood Building, which has an outdoor area and a dedicated room (the Den) for teenagers. 

You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital within designated mobile friendly zones. Using your mobile elsewhere could cause interference with our medical equipment. WIFI is available, please ask the ward administrator for this information.

Spiritual leaders of various denominations are available to offer spiritual and emotional support on NICU. 


If you are breastfeeding, or need to express milk, you can do so at your baby’s bedside or there is an expressing room close to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

You are also entitled to £5 of breastfeeding vouchers daily, to be used in the hospital cafeteria or shop. There is a neonatal nurse specialist available during the week who you can discuss any of these issues with. 
There is a midwifery clinic available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 2.30pm and 4.00pm. Please take your midwifery notes with you when you attend. 



Important information 

GOSH is a smoke-free zone, which means that you cannot smoke anywhere inside hospital property and adjacent areas, such as entrances to hospital buildings.

We will not tolerate any kind of inappropriate or threatening behaviour – verbal, physical or psychological – and we have a policy to ensure that this is dealt with appropriately. We can and will remove people from GOSH in these circumstances.