Letters

Bed shortages

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7077.369 (Published 01 February 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:369

Regional intensive care unit transfer teams are needed

  1. Peter G M Wallace, Presidenta,
  2. Paul G Lawler, Honorary secretarya
  1. a Intensive Care Society, London WC1H 9HR
  2. b Northern General Hospital NHS Trust, Sheffield S5 7AU

    Editor–A national bed bureau for intensive care beds was established on 1 December 1996.1 This will undoubtedly simplify the problem of finding a suitable bed for a critically ill patient should local facilities be either unavailable or inappropriate. The fact that such a facility was urgently needed confirms that there remains a shortage of intensive care (and not high dependency) beds in the right place at the right time.

    Although it is appropriate to use intensive care beds at maximum efficiency, knowledge of the whereabouts of a bed is only part of the solution. The dangers of transferring critically ill patients need to be emphasised. Safe transport requires trained and experienced staff; appropriate equipment; and a resuscitated, stable patient. The patient being transferred should occupy the equivalent of an intensive care unit bed in a vehicle, and during transfer he or she requires the full capabilities of an intensive …

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