Dean's Winter Pressures Message

13 December 2019

"Last year we released a joint winter pressures statement with our colleagues at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. 

The points we made then still stand: lack of capacity, the impending need for surge planning and the increased protection we will need to give to our critical care staff and patients and their families as winter pressures multiply. The fact that little has changed can be frustrating for healthcare professionals in critical care and the wider NHS. We are also concerned that we will still be dealing with the same issues in the future. 

Whilst we have successfully made the workforce case for our services, recruited more ICM doctors than any previous year and helped the growth of the new Advanced Critical Care Practitioner (ACCP) workforce, it will be many years before we reap even this benefit. Many units are struggling to retain the critical care nurses that keep our beds open – the remaining concern of a No Deal Brexit may impact these numbers further – we and the wider Academy have commented on our concerns in this area earlier this year.Many more units struggle to gain or retain funding for the Pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals who mean we can provide high quality safe patient care.

Yesterday we all went to the ballot boxes to vote for a new government – all of the parties made manifesto promises to increase funding for the NHS. Today we implore the government to proactively address this growing NHS deficit. Next winter will be the first major test of whether manifesto promises have started to translate into real changes.

For my fellow critical care team members – I am sure you will continue to do what you do each winter: look out for your colleagues, go that extra mile, and, most importantly, care as you always do for our patients.  This is what makes me proud to work in critical care."



Dr Alison Pittard

Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine