Critical care incorporates general adult intensive care, high-dependency, the Post- Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU), critical care outreach and the Critical Care Follow-up Clinic. There is also a critical care unit at the National Hospital for Neurosurgery and Neurology.

The Critical Care Unit at University College Hospital has 23 beds on the third floor of the UCH tower, 6 beds on the 6th floor of the UCH tower for perioperative patients, 10 beds on the first floor of the Grafton Way Building and 9 beds on the first floor of the Westmoreland Street site. All of these beds are managed and staffed by the same large multidisciplinary team. All care is consultant-led.

There are currently 30 critical care consultants, who together provide 24-hour cover for the University College Hospital and Westmoreland Street critical care units. There are strong links with University College London: three consultants have joint appointments, all of whom are professors Critical care, along with anaesthesia, is one of the main themes in the UCLH Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre; it is the only one in the country to have this theme.

The critical care outreach service is available 24/7. It is led by a nurse consultant and includes a Patient Emergency Response and Resuscitation Team (PERRT) that provides prompt, skilled support for all staff across the hospital caring for at-risk and deteriorating patients. It also follows-up patients discharged from the Critical Care Unit, in order to optimise their recovery. The service reduces cardiac arrests, the morbidity, mortality and hospital stay of high-risk patients.

The Critical Care Follow-up Clinic is consultant-led, but the patient is also seen by a clinical nurse specialist and has the opportunity to be seen by the unit’s clinical psychologist. All patients who have been discharged from hospital, and were in critical care for three or more days, are routinely invited to book an appointment.

The UCLH Critical Care Unit is one of the largest units in the country, providing a high standard of care for over 3000 patients per year. National intensive care audits have shown that our survival rates are among the highest in the country.

  • The unit is supported by a multi-denominational chaplaincy department.
  • A clinical psychologist is available via appointment to support patients and relatives. Please email if you would like psychological support.
  • There is a relatives’ room on the unit for daytime use and evenings up to 22:00. Advice is available for relatives regarding local accommodation if required.
  • Patients are supported by our extensive multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, a dietician and other members for the team.

  • On leaving critical care patients will be referred to one of our specialist wards.
  • The critical care outreach service routinely follows up patients who have been on the unit for two or more days and have recently moved to the wards.
  • Patients who have stayed on the unit for three or more days will be invited to attend the critical care follow-up clinic as an outpatient. The clinic is attended by members of the Critical Care multi-disciplinary team including a Clinical Nurse Specialist. At the appointment, patients have the chance to ask questions about their critical care admission and obtain ongoing advice regarding their physical and mental health and wellbeing should they need it. The team can also help ensure that patients' are receiving the most appropriate support in the community to aid their recovery. Please note that any critical care patient may have an appointment should they wish to have one; please contact our department for further information.

Are you a former patient (or a relative or carer) of the critical care department at UCLH?

The critical care department has set up a group of former critical care patients, their families and staff.

The group is called C-PAG (Critical Care Patient Advisory Group) and it aims for patients to share their experiences of critical care and their road to recovery after being discharged.

Evidence shows that accessing support from peers who have been through similar challenges can increase resilience, wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation.

The group is friendly, informal and welcoming of any former patient or their family at any stage of recovery. We hold an online C-PAG meeting every four weeks at 4pm on a Wednesday which lasts an hour; patients may like to come to every session or less regularly.

During some C-PAG meetings we also invite 'guest' members of the critical care team to answer questions about specific aspects of the critical care service. These sessions may last a bit longer than an hour.

In addition, we are keen to provide high quality patient care and to get feedback from patients about their experience so that they can tell us what we have done well and what we could do better. As a result, C-PAG also represents the ‘patient voice’ for key decisions made about the department and how it is run, this can mean that group members could be consulted about anything from picking the paint colours for a new ward to telling us about how the team can improve their communication.

If you would like to join C-PAG we would be delighted to hear from you. Contact Wendy Harris (Clinical Nurse Specialist) and Dr Janet Balabanovic (Critical Care Psychologist) by emailing for more information.

Nursing roles in Critical Care at University College London Hospital