Critical care is provided within the continuum of primary, secondary and tertiary care. The Department of Health report Comprehensive Critical Care (opens PDF, 101.62KB) details the classification used for the level of dependency that individual patients need, irrespective of location.
Intensive care facilities should comply with national standards (opens PDF, 1.17MB). All equipment must conform to the relevant safety standards and be regularly serviced. All staff must be appropriately trained, competent and familiar with the use of equipment.
Depending on the designated level, function, size and casemix of the hospital and region that it serves, an intensive care unit (ICU) may range from four to over 50 beds. Bed numbers should be sufficient to obviate the need to transfer patients for non-clinical needs.