Providing the greatest care for the smallest patients

Thanks to the generosity of long-term Foundation supporters ToyBox International and the incredible community spirit of those who participated in the 2016 Christmas Lights for Perth Children’s Hospital campaign, the hospital has taken delivery of a brand new NETS ambulance. 

NETS stands for Newborn Emergency Transport Service; a specialist team of doctors and nurses solely dedicated to providing neonatal intensive care during transport. NETS WA is a division of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) of PMH and KEMH. Currently based in NICU at PMH, the service will relocate the new Perth Children’s Hospital when it opens.

The mission of NETS WA is:

Providing the greatest care for the smallest patients. Anytime. Anywhere.

NETS WA operates in a huge retrieval area spanning over 2,500km, providing support to metropolitan, regional and remote centres throughout WA. The NETS WA team work in conjunction with St John Ambulance and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to cover this massive area.

In 2016 the team transferred 1,100 sick and preterm babies from throughout WA to either PMH or King Edward Hospital (KEMH) for intensive care.

The team also provide expert neonatal advice and support to doctors, nurses and midwives via the NETS WA Hotline, ensuring intensive care begins as early as possible.

Special equipment for special cases

As they transport critically ill babies to hospital, the NETS team replicate a neonatal intensive care environment on wheels (in the ambulance) or in the air (in a RFDS plane). In order to do this, the team own seven Mansell Neocots, which are custom-made specialised neonatal transport systems fully equipped with incubator, ventilator, full monitoring devices, infusion pumps and nitric oxide.

Neonatal Intensive Care medications and medical devices are also carried by the team who keep in touch with the NETS WA base at PMH via mobile or satellite phone during transport.

A new ambulance for newborns

The NETS WA ambulance currently used by the team has been in service for the past six years. In order to avoid potential compromise of the service due to the increasing servicing and repairs needed on an older vehicle, the Foundation was approached to fund the purchase of new NETS WA ambulance.

NETS ambulances require a very specific, custom fit-out that includes space for a large transport cot, seating for both medical and nursing staff, and room for additional specialist equipment and medications. It is also important for the team to have a full and clear view of the baby during transport in order to closely observe and attend to them without having to stop the vehicle.

NETS WA Medical Director Dr Jonathon Davis, said the team are looking forward to taking possession of their new ambulance which is currently being fitted out.

“We are extremely grateful to Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and their donors for funding the new ambulance. Having a brand new ambulance will mean that we don’t have to worry about issues such as breakdowns disrupting the service. This is particularly important given the dramatic increase in the need to transport critically ill neonates which has more than doubled in the past several years.

“The Foundation is integral to the care and support NETS WA and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provide to the sickest of babies. On behalf of the Units and the families that rely on the care they provide, thank you.”

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