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Referral Process

Here you can find information various NECTAR referral algorithms

NECTAR provides critical care transport for all patients presenting as an emergency. The scope of the service is outlined in the Service Standards 2016.

NECTAR now has a second team for nurse led transfer of patients requiring repatriation from PICU, high dependency/ sub-speciality care and also transfers Paediatric patients to improve patient flow within the region. This team once fully staffed will aim to function 10am to 10pm 7days a week.

Please contact NECTAR for decision support regarding the transfer of any child within the North East.

Acute Referral

Step 1 – Telephone NECTAR HQ  - 01912826699

Any Health care professional can make a referral to NECTAR 24/7. Please consider using the NECTAR referral document.

Step 2 - Initial details taken by the NECTAR admin person

Referrer’s  details

Child’s demographics (including GP)

Provisional diagnosis

Reason/type of referral

Preference of PICU (if appropriate)

Step 3 – Conference call with NECTAR clinician

The call centre operator will call back the referring clinician and connect them onto a conference call with the NECTAR clinician. Any other relevant clinicians may be added to the conference call.

Step 4 – Management plan

NECTAR Consultant will give advice and agree an initial management plan will be made with a decision to mobilise the NECTAR team if/when appropriate.

Step 5 – Further advice

Whilst the team are en route to the referring hospital, further advice maybe sought from the NECTAR Consultant as appropirate.

Step 6 – PICU bed found for the patient

The NECTAR clinician will liaise with the receiving paediatric intensive care unit’s consultant.

Waiting for NECTAR

It can be challenging caring for a critically ill child whilst waiting for the NECTAR team, with more interventions possibly needed once the team arrive. However, to assist the NECTAR team prepare the patient for safe and time efficient transport, please consider using the following checklist before the team arrives.

NECTAR acute ventilated patient transfer checklist

Time-critical Neurosurgical emergency


Children with life-threatening neurosurgical conditions (Eg. expanding intracranial haemorrhage, acute obstructive hydocephalus) will come to more harm from the delay related to the time waiting for NECTAR to travel to the referring hospital than from the relative risks of a direct transfer by the non-specialist hospital transfer team.

Hence, the agreed pathway nationally is that time-critical transfers need to be primarily the responsibility of the referring clinical team as outlined in the

Joint Statement from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons and the Royal College of Anaesthetists Regarding the Provision of Emergency Paediatric Neurosurgical Services.

 NECTAR’s role is to facilitate efficient communication to determine if the transfer needs to be time-critical and also provide the referring team with clinical advice until the patient reaches Great North Children's Hospital. Please consider using the following checklist to assist you undertake a safe and timely secondary transfer.

Time-critical Neurosurgical Transfer checklist 

Non-acute/Elective Referral

Please phone NECTAR on 01912826699 to make a referral

NECTAR can also facilitate transfers for palliative care at home/hospice.

Please use the following forms to assist in the referral process

NECTAR non-acute/planned transfer request form 

NECTAR non-acute/planned VENTILATED patient transfer checklist

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