Question Time Closing Panel

Sustainability in Excellence: The Future of Critical Care

Dr. Simon Ashworth Head of Intensive Care, Imperial College, London

Professor Kim Manley Professor Practice Development, Research and Innovation, Co-Director, England Centre for Practice Development, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University

ICUSteps Patient Representative: Peter Gibb, Chief Executive, ICUsteps

Against the backdrop of an ageing population and concomitant ageing medical workforce, people simply living longer with chronic illnesses and/or complex health needs, high expectations of the NHS and an apparent lack of a political will to acknowledge the healthcare needs of the population and address these appropriately, critical care within the NHS faces (and will continue to face) more than its fair share of challenges. Added to this mix is a chronic shortage of critical care beds, critical care nurses and equipment, often leading to difficult decisions having to be made about how to ration services in the most compassionate and ethical ways possible.

Clearly, providing comprehensive critical care calls for a comprehensive, increasingly a multi professional and dedicated critical care team. It is tempting to be brazen and suggest that, given how vitally important the provision of proactive, immediate, excellent critical care is to the NHS, the solution to the widespread problem of limited resources is for the Department of Health to just simply fund enough staff, beds and equipment, and to allow frontline staff to use their relevant experience and expertise to decide on what constitutes enough. Wishful thinking indeed. No, it is going to be incumbent on frontline staff to make do, to make things happen and to carry excellence forward.

This is where the question of how to attract, retain and support the critical care team becomes ever more deserving of answers and action. To be  invested and effective practitioners requires ongoing training and development, recognition, appreciation and fair remuneration. It goes without saying that the science upon which training and practice is based is crucial to providing the best care. But the art to providing ongoing excellent care is very personal. Passion, interest, commitment, true caring and the ability to find reward in work which makes a difference to another person’s life cannot be bought or taught. These must be nurtured and valued. Sustaining and building on excellence in critical care is founded on both science and art, but it can be argued that as the need for critical care services increases and resources become ever more limited, it will be personal attributes such as adaptability, flexibility and resilience which will need to be called upon, increasingly, going forward. Finding the right people, supporting the workforce and dealing with burnout (probably inevitable in critical care over time) has to become an essential priority.

This is your opportunity to raise your questions, voice your concerns and or propose / discuss any ideas with our excellent panel of experts who represents not just the medical & nursing critical care practitioners but even more importantly the voice of the patient and their loved ones. 

Make your voice heard by posting your questions to our panel on the BACCN 2017 Conference app or live during our Question Time debate on Tuesday 5th of September during the closing session of Conference 2017.


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