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Critical care – ICU/HDU

Easy Read Information

ICU is the Intensive Care Unit. This is for patients who are very seriously ill.

This page gives you information about:

  • The services on the unit
  • The staff who work there
  • Visiting times and arrangements
  • How to contact us

Who are we?

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals critical care department cares for patients with severe life-threatening illnesses and after patients following major surgical procedures.

Patients are cared for in one of the 2 units:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) which has 18 beds
  • High Dependency Unit (HDU) which has 14 beds

The department itself:

  • Has over 180 nursing staff
  • Has 17 consultants
  • Treats approximately 2000 patients per year in critical care areas (POCCU, Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit)


All patients are cared for and managed by a multi-professional team dedicated to delivering safe, high quality care, supporting families with compassion and understanding during what can be a very difficult time for friends and families of a critically ill patient.

The multi-disciplinary team also has additional staff, including Health Care Assistants, Operating Department Practitioners, Therapists, Physiotherapists, Pharmacists and a dietitian, who support the multi-disciplinary team

The critical care unit

The critical care unit consists of referred patients with acute pancreatitis from across the North-West of England and Northern Wales, treats patients with blood cancers like leukaemia as well as referred patients with TTP (a platelet disorder which has a 100% mortality if untreated) which requires urgent treatment.

The critical care units participate in many national clinical research trials and have been awarded prizes for recruiting the most patients into particular trials.


The POCCU (Post Operative Critical Care Unit) supports major surgical procedures such as pancreatic surgery, vascular surgery and cancer surgery.

What do we do?

Critically ill patients require support for failing organs. This could include:

  • Ventilator – for patients who are struggling to breathe and need ventilation by a mask or tube in their windpipe
  • Dialysis – for patients whose kidneys are not working
  • IV lines and pumps – for patients with falling blood pressure, intravenous medications are provided through  lines inserted into a large vein (neck, groin) to maintain blood pressure, provide nutrition and fluids.

High Dependency is a slightly level lower of dependency, for patients who require support for one organ and continuous close monitoring.

Both ICU and HDU are run by a team of Consultant Intensivists (a senior doctor specially trained in managing critically ill patients), trainee doctors and a large team of nurses, all of whom will have experience in looking after extremely ill patients.

Following discharge from the ICU and HDU, patients have on-going support from our specialist outreach team of nursing and physiotherapy staff. The team provides on-going specialist rehabilitation care as well as a support structure to support patients and their families, as they recover. This service extends into the outpatients setting and beyond.

Being referred

Patients are usually referred to critical care by any doctors or nurses from Accident and Emergency or the wards. Often we receive referrals from other hospitals for patients who require specialist tertiary treatment.

What happens when you see us?

Each patient will be assessed by a senior doctor from critical care. We will carry out a thorough review of your medical needs, discuss with the referring team and then decide on further action which may involve either an admission to critical care or continuing ongoing ward based care.

What happens next?

Each patient on ICU/HDU will have an experienced nurse looking after them. Formal consultant intensivist ward round takes place twice daily at 09:00 hr and at 16:30 hr. During this ward round doctors and nurses discuss the patients’ progress and care, examine the patients, decide on further treatment and make a plan for the rest of the day. This ward round includes input from other specialist consultants, including microbiologists who specifically deal with advice concerning infections.

Many patients are at risk of developing chest infections because their lungs are not functioning well enough to prevent the build up of secretions. We have a team of physiotherapists who may treat a patient’s chest, to clear secretions from their lungs.

The physiotherapists along with the occupational therapists are involved with the rehabilitation of the patients by helping them to exercise their limbs, sit out of bed, stand and walk and regain functional independence as they are able. We begin this process as soon as possible.

A dietitian ensures that each patient is receiving the appropriate type of food and is receiving enough calorie and nutrients.

A speech and language therapist may visit the patient to assess swallowing or speech function and aid communication skills in conscious patients who have had tracheostomies.

More Information

Critical Care Outreach:

The Critical Care Outreach Service is a team of nurses who have extensive skills and knowledge in recognising the deteriorating patient. They review patients on the general wards in response to referrals from either ward nurses or medical staff, and advise and help in the care of patients who may need a higher level of observations and interventions. The Outreach team work closely with all staff from the Critical Care areas. The team helps to facilitate the transfer of patients from the general wards to ICU and back again as well as support ward staff in education and training. The transition between the ward and the intensive care unit can be a stressful time for the patient, their relatives and the staff looking after them and the Outreach team aim to make that transition as smooth as possible.


Our ICU actively supports medical and nursing research to improve patient care. Several research projects, mainly about sepsis and airway disease are currently underway in the unit. We may speak to you about the possibility of the inclusion of yourself or your relative into a research study. Details of the study will be fully discussed with you. You will then be given time to think about whether you or your relative would want to take part in the study. The decision you make will in no way affect the care you or your relative receive. All studies performed on our unit have been reviewed and approved by the relevant authorities.

Organ Donation:

The Critical Care Unit supports organ and tissue donation, and has specialist staff who support decision making when this is a possibility. Further information on organ donation can be found on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

The team

Consultant Critical care members:

  • Peter Hampshire - Clinical lead
  • Sue Ryan - Matron
  • Dr Andrew Axon - Consultant
  • Dr Leo Khoo - Consultant
  • Dr Maryam Crews - Consultant
  • Dr Elizabeth Flockton - Consultant
  • Professor Arpan Guha - Consultant
  • Dr Alison Hall - Consultant
  • Dr Peter Hampshire - Consultant
  • Dr Anand Iyer - Consultant
  • Dr Norman Main - Consultant
  • Dr Gary Masterson - Consultant
  • Dr Lawrence McCrossan - Consultant
  • Dr Victoria Packham - Consultant
  • Dr Lee Poole - Consultant
  • Dr Simon Rogers - Consultant
  • Dr Vinoth Sankar - Consultant
  • Professor Ingeborg Welters - Consultant
  • Dr Richard Wenstone - Consultant
  • Supporting the medical and nursing staff across our directorate are a number of Operating Department Practitioners, auxiliary nurses, and administrative support workers.
  • There are also a number of research nurses working within the directorate, and we regularly invite patients to take part in one of the many projects taking place within the unit.

Visitor information

Visiting hours are

ITU - 12 pm - 3 pm, and 6 pm - 8 pm.

HDU - 2 pm - 4 pm and 6 pm - 8 pm

Under special circumstances it is possible to visit outside of the official visiting times; please speak to the nurse in charge or the nurse who is looking after your relative or friend.

Please do be aware that there will be times when visitors will be asked to wait because of interventions being carried out or because of other patients being very unwell. We will never keep you waiting longer than necessary.

Contact us

Phone numbers for Intensive Care are 0151 706 2400/2402

Phone Numbers for HDU are 0151 706 2382/2386

Email the matron here

Where are we?

Intensive Care is situated on the first floor on the 'XYZ' side of the hospital; from the main entrance head to the left side of the hall and take the lift or stairs to the first floor.

HDU is situated on the 8th floor of the 'ABC' side of the hospital; from the main entrance head to the right side of the hall and take the lift to the 8th floor.

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