Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

Would you explain what the level 3 or level 2/3 ICU is? What is the difference between ICU and HDU?

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7499.s184-b (Published 07 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:s184
  1. Peter Shirley, intensive care consultant
  1. Royal London Hospital

Abstract

www.bmjcareers.com/advicezone

Have a career or related problem that needs answering? Can't find the right person to point you in the right direction? Log on to the Advice Zone for reliable medical careers advice. You can post a question or see if one of our 300 advisers has already answered a similar question. Here is a selection of questions and answers posted on the site.

The Department of Health (UK) produced a document in 2001 called Comprehensive Critical Care in which the levels of care are summarised:

  • Level 1—Ward based care where the patient does not require organ support (for example, they may need an IV, or oxygen by face mask)

  • Level 2—High dependency unit (HDU). Patients needing single organ support (excluding mechanical ventilation) such as renal haemofiltration or ionotropes and invasive BP monitoring. They are staffed with one nurse to two patients

  • Level 3—Intensive care. Patients requiring two or more organ support (or needing mechanical ventilation alone). Staffed with one nurse per patient and usually with a doctor present in the unit 24 hours per day.

Footnotes

  • MORE ABOUT THE ADVICE ZONE

  • More than 2000 doctors and medical students have already posted their queries on the Advice Zone (www.bmjcareers.com/advicezone) on everything from exams and career choices to maternity leave or bullying bosses. Read what our advisers have suggested, or submit your own question to the panel.

  • WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE?

  • If you have anything helpful to add – perhaps you have been in a similar situation yourself – then you can post your own comments on the Advice Zone by going to the relevant section, then select the question and simply click on the “Reply to Question” button.

  • Alternatively, you can send a rapid response to any of the questions and answers on the page.

View Abstract