COVID-19: the ICU doctor doesn’t want to see you now, nothing personal

9 October 2020

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the Royal College of Anaesthetists are urging people across the United Kingdom and those visiting it, to abide strictly by the government’s rules regarding social distancing. With a worrying increase in hospital admissions of patients with Coronavirus and the tightening of restrictions across the UK, we must continue to be vigilant and play our part in tackling the spread of the virus. 

We are already seeing increasing pressure on intensive care units which, if this trend continues, will impact the NHS’ ability to deliver non-COVID hospital services. This in turn, will lead to prolonged surgical waiting lists, which are already at a 10-year high. 

While there may be regional differences and sometimes complicated guidance, we urge everyone to follow the hands, face and space rule and stick strictly to local lockdown measures. 

Here are some ways you can protect yourself and those around you, and prevent you and your loved-ones from potentially catching Coronavirus and needing treatment in the intensive care unit:

Intensive care doctors and anaesthetists are dedicated to giving you the greatest care if and when you need it. But, we hope we don’t see you, because it’s not pleasant coming into the ICU. You won’t like it, your family won’t like it and we don’t like to see you in such a life-threatening situation with COVID. There are many ways you can avoid needing us to care for you in the ICU, and we urge you to follow those rules. 

Unless everyone follows the hands face and space rule and sticks strictly to local lockdown measures we are in real danger of the NHS being unable to cope and deliver the other services patients need. Given the recent dramatic spike in both the number of cases and hospital admissions it is clear that we could soon be back to where we were in April if we are not all extremely careful. This is a matter of national importance and we will only get through this if we all work together. 

Dr Alison Pittard,
Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine

Professor Ravi Mahajan,
President, Royal College of Anaesthetists