The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation was established in 1995 as a result of the very short life of Hanna Cursley – born 18 November 1993. It was created to assist in the development of the Centre for Newborn Care at Canberra Hospital. Our support covers a wide range of activities, which includes the provision of medical equipment not available through normal Government channels. In addition, the Foundation supports research and education activities so that the Unit can contribute to the global fund of knowledge of problems of the newborn. It is only through such activity that the service is able to maintain its exemplary standards in this arena. Please help the cause by making a donation.


The Centre for Newborn Care at Canberra Womens’ and Childrens’ Hospital is the principal centre for neonatal or newborn intensive care in the ACT and southern NSW. As part of the New South Wales neonatal network and in its association with the newborn emergency transport services (NETS) operating from Sydney, the hospital provides a referral service for babies born in surrounding New South Wales and Victoria. The Unit admits approximately 700 – 750 babies each year, more than 300 of who require assisted ventilation using sophisticated equipment not available elsewhere. Approximately 350 babies are admitted from Southern NSW each year.

The Unit treats a wide range of problems originating in the newborn period. These range from extreme prematurity, babies weighing only 500 grams at birth, to the other end of the spectrum, babies who are large for their gestational age and occasionally in excess of 5 kilograms at birth. A wide range of medical and surgical problems are addressed, and the unit has established a significant reputation in the quality care of the newborn.

Within the framework of quality care, the aim of the unit is to assist babies in the process of recovery and during their transition into outside life in as safe and as positive way as possible. The protection afforded to the frail newborn infant in this transition to life after birth requires a high degree of clinical expertise and technological support in order to maximise the potential for normal life after discharge. Inevitably, the costs of such a service are increasing but with it we ensure a decreasing frequency of handicap or later problems in babies that have been discharged from this service. The effectiveness and efficiency of this program in achieving these objectives is partly dependent on technological support and partly dependent on the expertise of the nursing and medical staff.

It is the technical aspects of care which enables quality clinical care to occur and we constantly need to update equipment and introduce new technology to push the boundaries of quality care forward.