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The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Special Care Baby Unit / Muinyi munthuku kangkawardli


The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is a 35-bed unit caring for babies needing short and long term observation and specialised care. SCBU also provides a Neonatal Early Discharge (NED) program.

The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is a 35-bed unit caring for babies needing short and long term observation and specialised care born at the WCH, born elsewhere in South Australia, the Northern Territory, western Victoria and the far west of New South Wales.

The Kaurna name for the SCBU is Muinyi munthuku kangkawardli, which means "Place of special care for infants/newborns".

SCBU also provides a Neonatal Early Discharge (NED) program. This allows some babies to go home early on gavage (tube) feeds. Your baby's care is continued in the comfort of your own home with regular visits from experienced SCBU Midwives/Nurses.

How to access this service


24 hours


Level 3 zone F / Queen Victoria Building

Further Information

For families

A multidisciplinary team provides care for babies in SCBU. These babies are usually born ill and/or prematurely. The unit supports and actively encourages the transfer of babies to their local hospital once they no longer need specialised care.

Adjacent to SCBU is a Parenting Unit which provides education and support for parents and families prior to your baby going home. A waiting room is located near the nursery entrance.

Accommodation is available in nearby motels, hotels and apartments

The Butterfly Card scheme assists families where babies are admitted to hospital for an anticipated period of more than a week or who have frequent admissions or outpatient/day therapy appointments. Please speak to the staff caring for your baby for further information.

Please ask the Midwife/Nurse who is caring for your baby if you wish to see a social worker, interpreter or minister of religion.

Parents and Caregivers – Caring for your Baby

We welcome the involvement of parents and caregivers while babies are in SCBU. Our care is family-centred, meeting the physical, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the family.

Parents are important members of the team – we look forward to working with you during your baby’s stay. We encourage you to visit frequently and also welcome phone calls at any time if you just want to check in how your baby is progressing when you are not at the hospital.

The unit provides a family centred model of care and developmentally supportive care to all babies. We encourage parents to have an active role in the care of your baby. We encourage you to be part of the ward rounds that occur each day, as well as assisting with hands on care of your baby wherever possible.

Neonatal Outreach Service

A Home Visiting Service is provided by experienced nurses and midwives from SCBU for parents and babies who live within 20 - 25 km of the WCH. This service provides care and support within the home setting, and also provides support for parents whose baby has been discharged home on tube feeds via the NED program.

Referrals to other support agencies such as Child and Youth Health, Parenting Network are also offered.

Services and Facilities

Meals for parents and caregivers are available from the Cafeteria or the Playdeck.

For safety reasons, please do not bring food or hot drinks into the nursery.

Car parking is available on or near the hospital grounds.


  • Parents only may visit.
  • Parents: You may visit at any time, but if you are unwell, please do not visit your baby. Please speak to your nurse/midwife about ‘Babytalk’.
  • Children are not permitted in the unit.
  • Exemptions may be considered in extenuating circumstances, and will require approval.
  • Please check local restrictions or speak to your nurse/midwife for current visiting guidelines.



Ward Clerk: 8161 7848

SCBU Shift Coordinator: 0466 249 978

Nurse Unit / Midwife Manager: 8161 7863



(08) 8161 9618

Mailing Address

Special Care Baby Unit
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006


Babies in the SCBU are cared for by a large multidisciplinary team including:

  • Neonatologists – doctors who specialise in looking after premature or ill newborns
  • Nurses and Midwives, many of whom have additional qualifications in Neonatal Intensive or Special Care Nursing
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioners
  • allied healthcare providers such as social workers and physiotherapists
  • other medical specialists such as anaesthetists or surgeons.

Research Activity

The WCH has an ongoing commitment to research and evidence based practice. Many research activities are conducted with support from the Neonatal staff.