Intensive care, also referred to as critical care medicine, is the speciality which cares for patients with acute, life-threatening illness involving failure of one or more of the body’s organ systems. This includes those with acute infections such as pneumonia or peritonitis, patients who have sustained major trauma, or those who have undergone complex surgery, including transplantation.
The new Critical Care Unit at UHB, which opened in June 2010, is the largest integrated critical care facility in Europe, co-locating 100 beds, 35 critical care specialists, and 580 nurses, working in close proximity to other acute disciplines, including the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM).
Research in intensive care, also known as critical care, is essential for improving patient outcomes.
Areas of research
Our research is focussed on a number of key areas:
- Understanding basic mechanisms of illness, such as inflammation
investigating techniques of rehabilitation to promote recovery
- Evaluating new treatments in resuscitation and complex organ system support
- Improving the reliability of emergency medical care through “human factors” such as research and education
We are leading, or substantially collaborating in, major national and international studies in the domains of infection and inflammation, acute respiratory failure, liver failure, health services research, implementation science, and education, with additional local expertise in the domain of ethics and law. We have established links with the Ministry of Defence’s research programme at Porton Down through the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM).
Organisation of critical care research
The chair of the Critical Care Research Group is Dr Tony Whitehouse, and his deputy is Dr Iain Mackenzie. He reports through the Division A Research Management Group, which is chaired by Dr Bill Tunnicliffe. This structure integrates UHB with University of Birmingham researchers, including:
- Dr Tom Clutton-Brock
- Professor Julian Bion
- Professor Fang Gao
We also have active links with other centres in the West Midlands, and nationally and internationally. Our research is supported by our nursing collaborators:
- Ron Carera
- Frank Keats
- Jo Millar
- Elsa Perry
- Sarah Park
We have a waiting list of nurses wanting to take up research positions with us.