Intensive care (critical care)

Intensive Care

The London North West Healthcare NHS Trust intensive care units (ICU) care for patients with complex medical and surgical needs. The expert care that is provided for patients with these complex conditions cannot be provided elsewhere in the hospital. Our intensive care units together admit approximately 1250 patients a year.

We have intensive care units at two of our hospitals sites, Northwick Park and Ealing Hospitals and a specialist post anaesthetic care unit (PACU) at Central Middlesex Hospital providing enhanced post-operative monitoring and care for surgical patients. Each unit’s set-up is slightly different and you can find more information about each below. 

Ealing Hospital
The unit at Ealing is a 9 bed combined intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) which specialises in caring for patients whose conditions are considered as life-threatening, who require complex treatment and monitoring.

Northwick Park Hospital
There are two Intensive care units on the Northwick Park site which care for a mix of Intensive Care and High Dependency patients: Level 3 ICU and Level 5 ICU.  Level 3 ICU is an eleven bed unit and Level 5 ICU unit is a thirteen bed unit.  Both units specialise in caring for patients with complex medical and surgical needs and whose conditions are considered as life-threatening, requiring complex treatment and monitoring.

Level 3 ICU has close operational links to theatres and is located adjacent to an overnight surgical intensive recovery area.

Central Middlesex Hospital
Central Middlesex Hospital has a two bed post anaesthetic care unit (PACU) providing enhanced post-operative monitoring and care for surgical patients.


Additional information about care on our intensive care units

Patients who are seriously ill may require ventilation through the artificial ventilator. They may also require high doses of drugs and seriously ill patients will have a dedicated nurse assigned to them 

There are certain aspects of the ICU which is unique only to the department: 

  • Noise levels are usually higher than on the wards due to the constant operation of the equipment, the bleeping or alarming of the machines
  • The main lights in the department are dimmed at night but some reading lights are needed for the nurses and doctors to see what they are doing such as recording patient observations, administering medications, carrying out basic care.  
  • The main door to the ICU is locked for security reasons. 

The intensive care doctors and nurses will give an overview and general update on the patient, but they may refer relatives to the specialist teams for discussion of certain aspects of care.

The ICU is a high-risk area with seriously ill patients whose immune system may be compromised or they may have a serious infection. Therefore the management of infection control is taken very seriously in the department. All staff and visitors are must comply with the department’s policy of alcohol hand washing and wearing aprons and gloves before entering patients’ rooms. Before leaving each cubicle, apron and gloves are to be removed and disposed of inside the cubicle and hands washed.

The ICU is a busy environment where doctors and nurses are usually involved in constant activity.  It would be helpful to nominate a family member to act as a point of contact for receiving information. It is advised that the main next-of-kin gather significant family members together to meet the consultant and team for condition updates. These two strategies save the ICU team a great deal of time on the phone or face-to-face giving the same information to lots of different people.

When the condition of the patient improves and he/she does not require intensive care treatment, the ICU team will transfer the patient to the ward and will hand over to the appropriate ward team. 

Useful link: Critical care in North West London

Ealing Hospital 

The critical care unit is located on Level 3 of Ealing Hospital.

Opening times: 11am to 1pm and 4pm to 5pm 

Tel. 020 8967 5593 or 020 8967 5683

Northwick Park Hospital   

Level 3 ICU - located at the rear of the hospital.  Car park three is the nearest to the unit. 
Reception - 020 8869 2784

Level 5 ICU - entrance is via St. Mark's Hospital, Level 5.  Reception - 020 8869 3767