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About the Service

Northern Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval (NISTAR) is the joint paediatric and neonatal transfer service for all of Northern Ireland. We aim to give equity of access to all children and babies who require an acute transfer between hospitals as part of their medical care.

The service is hosted by Belfast Trust and made up of two teams, paediatric and neonatal, that share common core structures, including dedicated ambulances and crew. The neonatal team is based in Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital and the paediatric team in PICU in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

The paediatric team transfers sick children requiring paediatric intensive care (eg ventilation or other critical life support such as intensive cardiovascular support, and non-ventilated babies on prostin) from their hospital of origin to PICU, 24/7.

The neonatal team transfers acutely sick neonates and back transfers between hospitals, 8:00 am-8:00 pm, seven days per week.

How to access the service

Telephone Referral Proforma

To request a transfer please contact the relevant Paediatric or Neonatal team on the following numbers:

Paediatric: contact PICU on (028) 9063 2499 / (028) 9063 3466 to discuss the need for a PICU admission, and to speak to the NISTAR paediatric coordinator.

Neonatal: contact the neonatal coordinator on 07825 147266 after agreeing the transfer with the receiving hospital (8:00 am to 8:00 pm; between 8:00 pm and 8:00 am, please contact the paediatric team as above).

NISTAR will take over all co-ordination from this point – including operational organisation of planned transfers.
The procedure for requesting a transfer is summarised in the flowcharts below:

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