Our aim is to provide excellent care to critically ill children in an environment that is sensitive to the needs of the child and the family.
We are the lead centre for paediatric intensive care in North Thames and a recognised centre for training in paediatric intensive care medicine. Our intensive care unit is one of the largest for children in the UK and Europe.
There are two distinct units: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), however they work closely together.
The units are located on the fourth floor of the variety club building (VCB). PICU is funded for 12 beds and NICU funded for 10 cots. The nursing and medical teams work closely together allowing great flexibility and are led by a team of eight consultants.
Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
Approximately 1,200 patients per year are admitted to PICU. Our patients come from the North Thames area and also further afield from all over the UK and abroad. This reflects the wide range of specialist services that can be provided for critically ill children in our unit.
We admit children post-operatively who have had specialised surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). We offer support and services for our colleagues in other specialities such as general surgery, oncology, neurology, metabolic medicine, renal, spinal surgery, ENT, respiratory and endocrinology.
GOSH is the only UK centre for the treatment of infants with Vein of Galen who often require intensive care services. We are one of the two London centres for children requiring neurosurgery and intensive care in London.
Our PICU has state of the art equipment and facilities to allow development of new treatments and management strategies for critically ill children. Almost all children and infants admitted to PICU are ventilated (> 90 per cent).
We have a number of ventilators to allow different ventilatory techniques appropriate to the care of the child. A full range of renal replacement therapies are also available should any child require it.
Our staff on PICU are acutely aware of the stress suffered by parents and relatives of children who are admitted to the unit and have developed a large support network. We have a team of family liaison nurses, a play specialist, accessibility to interpreters, social workers and psychological support for those who need it.
This network is constantly assessed by parents and relatives in our regular parent satisfaction surveys and we aim to continuously improve the services we provide.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Our NICU treats approximately 500 patients per year. There is no obstetric facility within GOSH so this is not a traditional NICU.
The NICU primarily admits general surgical neonates referred from other hospitals, they are often preterm but not necessarily so. We often treat neonates with necrotising enterocolitis, bowel obstruction, oesophageal atresia, tracheoesophageal fistulae and other congenital anomalies.
Neonates with complex medical and surgical problems from other specialities are also admitted (laryngeal clefts, sacrococcygeal teratomas).
There is extensive research by both surgical and medical teams into causes and treatments for necrotising enterocolitis in neonates.
We also admit neonates brought to GOSH who may need extracorporeal life support (ECLS, also known as ECMO) and employ maximal medical management. This includes nitric oxide and high frequency oscillation to try and avoid the use of ECLS if possible. Two of the consultants have a specialist research interest in persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
The NICU is part of the North Thames Central Neonatal Network. In this collaboration we aim to provide the best service possible for neonates by sharing best practice and service opportunities with our colleagues in UCLH, Whittingdon, Royal Free, Chase Farm and Barnet. We have regular meetings with colleagues from UCH neonatal unit to discuss shared patients and best practice.
Our staff on NICU also have a strong support network for families and there are regular midwife clinics, family liaison nurses, psychological support and breast feeding specialists available.
The success of these staff is demonstrated by the excellent feedback we have received from families in the recent North Thames Central Neonatal Network Survey.