Newborn Emergency Transport Service

NETS is an acronym for newborn emergency transport service or system. Such services provide critical care transport for newborn babies requiring care not available in the hospital of birth. Some provide other services; such as outreach education, return transport and coordination of high-risk obstetric transfer. Others provide transport services in older age-groups (infants and children).

NETS (Victoria) is the emergency transport service for newborn babies in the state of Victoria, parts of southern NSW and northern Tasmania. The base of operations and clinical coordination centre is at the Royal Women's Hospital in Carlton, Victoria. Outreach education services are also provided throughout the state of Victoria. All newborn patients needing intensive care in Victoria are transported to one of 4 neonatal ICUs by NETS (Victoria). Hotline 1300 137 650.

NETS (NSW) is the emergency transport service for babies (and children) for the state of NSW; based at Westmead. Starting originally as a service for newborns, the service also treats and transports older children up to the age of 16 years The service has a clinical coordination centre taking calls from physicians in any of over 200 hospitals and a number of private surgical centres. Clinical advice is provided and critical care transport teams are launched, as required, by road or air. Newly born patients are moved to one of 10 neonatal ICUs in NSW and the ACT. Infants and children are transported to one of 3 pædiatric ICUs. Calls are also received seeking assistance with emergency transfer of high risk obstetric patients. Clinical conference call techniques are used to make decisions about these obstetric transfers. Medical retrieval teams, a fleet of purpose-built ambulances and two multi-engined, IFR helicopters are housed within the Base to provide rapid response to clinical emergencies. Hotline 1300 36 2500.

NETS (Virginia) is a service of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville VA (USA). Ground and air vehicles are used to transport sick babies from 30 surrounding hospitals. For emergency transport, call the nICU on (434) 924 2335.


NETS (Virginia) began in 1975.

NETS (Victoria) was established in 1976 after government reports showed an alarming number of deaths occurring during or after 'mercy dash' transfers of newborn infants by ambulance. The service which covers the state of Victoria in southern Australia, pioneered the provision of newborn transport in Australia.

NETS (NSW) evolved in the mid 1970's at two hospitals in Sydney and other hospitals progressively developed the capacity for newborn transport in subsequent years. In 1995 separate services based at 5 hospitals were amalgamated to create a single statewide service of NSW Health As well as newborns, this service also transports infants and children. Since that time, all calls for emergency transport of newborn infants and children throughout NSW (from preterm infants to adolescents) are coordinated by NETS


NETS use conference call techniques to connect calling doctors with one or more specialists relevant to the patient's condition. In this way, all aspects of the clinical problem are canvassed in one phone call without impairing the emergency response of the transport team.


NETS use road ambulances specially fitted out for the task of loading and moving the heavy equipment needed for mobile intensive care. They feature easy loading systems and supplies of medical air as well as oxygen.

Helicopter transport is provided by Child Flight to NETS NSW and Victorian Air Ambulance to NETS Victoria.

Fixed wing aircraft operated by the RFDS transport NETS teams and equipment over longer distances.


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