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About PIPER Neonatal

  • PIPER Neonatal stabilises and retrieves critically ill babies from hospitals throughout Victoria, Tasmania and Southern New South Wales. The majority of these babies are transferred to the Royal Children's Hospital, Mercy Hospital for Women, Monash Children's Hospital and the Royal Women's Hospital or to a hospital with the appropriate level of care.

    PIPER Neonatal operates out of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. A vital part of the PIPER Neonatal activity is

    • providing specialist advice to doctors, nurses and ambulance personnel,
    • providing a Return Transport Service and
    • providing a State-wide education service.


    PIPER Neonatal is staffed by highly experienced Neonatal Consultants, Fellows and Retrieval Nurses, Education staff and supported by administration staff.


    The PIPER Neonatal leadership team consists of a Medical Director, Nurse Unit Manager and Business Manager. Daily clinical operations are provided by PIPER Neonatal Consultants, who are senior medical specialists in neonatal intensive care/retrievals, Fellows and Nursing staff.

    Retrieval staff

    Responsibility for clinical advice and retrieval operations lies with the Duty PIPER Consultant who supervises the retrieval teams. All emergency retrievals are performed by a Neonatal Fellow or Nurse Practitioner and a PIPER Neonatal nurse. PIPER Nurse Practitioners are permanent staff members with extensive experience in neonatal advanced practice and retrieval.  Medical staff are neonatal fellows with extra training in retrieval medicine. PIPER Neonatal retrieval nurses are experienced nursing staff with at least 3 years' experience in NICU/PICU, have post-graduate qualifications in either NICU or PICU nursing. All staff have additional training in retrieval medicine.

    NETS neonatal history

    NETS commenced operations in Victoria in 1976 after the Consultative Council on Neonatal Mortality identified a high mortality in premature babies born outside hospitals with NICU facilities. Within 12 months the mortality in this group had been halved.

    NETS is a state-wide dedicated retrieval service and has been advising and retrieving babies throughout Victoria, southern NSW and Tasmania.

    In 2012/13, PIPER Neonatal retrieved 1,216 emergency transfers, 108 elective transfers and 331 neonatal consultations and completed 1,653 return transfers.

    Service provision

    • Clinical consultation for sick &/or premature babies
    • Emergency Transport of sick newborns
    • Bed state information (Victorian Perinatal Information Centre)
    • Return Transport Service – transportation of special care babies to hospitals closer to home.
    • Non-Emergency Transport Service
    • PIPER Neonatal Education