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Notes for Boards: Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Risks in the Design of a Neonatal Unit (NNU)

Published on 01 May 2024

From: Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland

Summary of guidance on the design of a level NNU facility. Useful to IPC teams involved in design or refurb of facilities.



There is limited technical standards and guidance currently available to aid decision making in respect of optimal design considerations when planning to undertake a new build, adapt, extend, or undertake refurbishment within a Neonatal Unit.

This document aims to support NHS Scotland boards by providing them with a summarised set of questions and answers which will signpost them to any applicable technical guidance documents and summarise key considerations pertaining to:

  • functionality
  • layout
  • support spaces
  • maintenance access arrangements
  • water systems (including drainage)
  • ventilation systems

In addition to design considerations, project teams must engage with HAI-SCRIBE and NDAP/KSAR processes. Neonatal units are high risk areas so particular care must be taken around protecting its water and ventilation systems during construction and there needs to be a robust commissioning plan from the outset.