About PIPER Perinatal

  • PIPER Perinatal is a state-wide service which provides accessible and timely expert advice to health care providers for high-risk obstetric care. This advice is provided by experienced consultant obstetricians from the three tertiary maternity/newborn hospitals in Melbourne.

    Contact PIPER perinatal to:

    • Obtain assistance with arranging emergency transport (mother and / or newborn).
    • Speak to a PERS or NETS consultant regarding management options.
    • Gain assistance with information regarding evidence-based clinical guidelines for care in urgent perinatal situations.
    • Request assistance with organising an appropriate higher level maternal or neonatal bed
    • Bed state information (Victorian Perinatal Information Centre)

    In utero transfer

    • Most in-utero transfers occur safely and efficiently following direct communication between the referring and receiving hospital.
    • Delays in bed finding should not delay the transfer.
    • It is important that the decision to transfer does not expose the mother or baby to significant risk.
    • When dilemmas in decision-making arise, input may be required from multiple groups: eg Obstetricians, transport personnel (medical and ambulance) and others. This is best achieved through a conference call facility.

    PIPER perinatal provides

    • clinical advice to health care providers.
    • enables decision-making in regard to the need for perinatal transfer and the urgency with which this needs to be effected.
    • where necessary, to facilitate access to a bed in a maternity service able to provide the required level of care for the mother and, if delivery is expected, for the neonate.

    PIPER Perinatal differs from the other two sections of the Service as we do not perform patient retrievals. Rather PIPER Perinatal relies on the ambulance service (principally the Ambulance Victoria paramedics), but on occasion the Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV), to provide a team of medically qualified intensivists who may be called upon to perform in utero transfers.

    Staff and organisation

    PIPER Perinatal is staffed by highly experienced obstetric consultants and nursing staff who coordinate referrals.

    PERS perinatal history

    The PIPER Perinatal Service (PERS) was formed in 2005 and was collocated with the PIPER Neonatal Service (NETS) at the Royal Women's Hospital. The two services moved to the New RCH hospital in December 2011 to facilitate the progressive functional and administrative consolidation of these services with the PIPER Paediatric Service (formerly PETS). We now share a common emergency telephone number, as well as common telecommunications and triage infrastructure (coordination).

    Our referrals come from medical practitioners and midwives involved in the provision of maternity care across Victoria, both in the public and private sectors, from both hospital and community settings, and from metropolitan and rural areas. However we also provide support to staff in hospitals without an on-site maternity service who may find themselves unexpectedly confronted by a pregnant woman requiring urgent care, and to Ambulance Victoria paramedics across the state. A small number of referrals are also received from the NSW Riverina area, and from Tasmania.