What We do

The purpose of the South-West Critical Care Network is to oversee, support and coordinate the delivery of a high quality, responsive and patient focused critical care service across the South-West of the UK. By acting as the link between NHS England and the individual critical care units in our region, we aim to support units in the provision and delivery of a high quality, equitable and connected critical care service with seamless transitions of care within the region. 

The key stakeholders of the South-West Critical Care Network are formed from the 16 critical care units across 10 Acute Hospital Trusts in South-West of England. The current adult critical care bed base in our Network currently stands at 275 beds.

The Network continues to work with a variety of clinical and managerial colleagues locally, regionally and nationally to support the delivery of timely, patient focussed, high-quality critical care in the South-West. 

Who we work with:

In 2012 as part of the re-organisation of services in the NHS, the critical care networks became Operational Delivery Networks. The South-West Critical Care Network was established in June 2014 as a collaborative partnership bringing together critical care services to work together to promote the highest quality critical care for all patients in our region.

The Network has a strategic role in collaborating with multi- professional clinicians, managers and commissioners.

We work closely with senior staff from individual critical care units across the region and act as their representative with NHS England. In addition, we work closely with the Paediatric Critical Care Network and with the South-West transfer services (Retrieve for adults and WATCh for children) to support the delivery of high-quality critical care services for patients in our region. Additionally, we work with National professional bodies such as the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, NHS England's Clinical Reference Group and the Programme Board for Adult Critical Care to represent the views of our units and the needs of our patients. In doing so we hope that the national strategic direction for critical care in the UK aligns with the needs of patients and hospitals in the South-West.

Quality Assurance

Our Network aims to support all of our units to deliver a critical care service in line with national standards and to understand the factors that impact on delivery of this. 
We do this through by peer review visits, regular gap analysis reviews and network meetings including our quarterly Clinical Forum. The Network is part of a national Network group that supports a number of guidance documents and data collection projects.


We work to promote the safe transfer of critically ill patients within and between hospitals in the South-West of England.

We do this through our transfer group and through close collaboration with our Adult Critical Care Transfer Service, Retrieve.

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We have developed a number of specialist subgroups to enable cross-unit working, promote roles, share learning and best practice, and offer a form of peer support. These subgroups are formed of representatives from a particular specialist areas of critical care from units across the region. They are supported by the Network but chaired by a chosen member of the specialist group and create their own workstreams.  

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As a Network we are passionate about the education of our critical care workforce. We provide this for all the teams in a number of different ways. We fund, support and organise study days, conferences and educational meetings throughout the year to develop and train the staff from all disciplines.  


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Surge Planning

As well as supporting Units and Systems during times of surge, the Network participates in command & control and escalation processes with the NHS England South West regional team.

We support the region to develop plans and give clinical insight, in surge, covid and winter pressures. 


We support our Units, Systems and NHS England regional teams with daily capacity data and local insights and intelligence.
We also have a robust understanding of current and surge capacity to support future planning (including supporting regional and ICB commissioners), to ensure greater equality of access.



Workforce wellbeing & retention

The Network work hard to promote the importance of the wellbeing and retention of our Critical Care workforce. This includes producing region-wide staff surveys to better understand the feelings of the workforce. Our surveys led to us supporting the CC3N in the data analysis for their National Workforce survey. We have set up Professional Nurse Advocate roles for each unit and provided funding for wellbeing support.

Data analysis

We ensure data is at the heart of the Network work programme, by regularly analysing current activity and key performance indicators, as well as by using benchmarking to review variation between our units. We utilise business intelligence at NHS England to assist us with this work

Critical Care in the South West - Poster

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