Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Visiting to ICU during COVID-19 pandemic

We are very sorry but due to COVID-19, we currently have restricted visiting in the critical care unit. We are aiming to provide visiting only at end of life, or for special cases such as patients with additional needs. This is at the discretion of the consultant and nurse in charge. In this case, visiting should be the next of kin, and one other support person to come with you. This should be the same people each time.

You should be aware that if you are visiting there is a risk that you may come into contact with COVID-19. You should let us know if you have any health concerns or are at risk of developing more severe symptoms should you become unwell. We can arrange a video call visit in this instance.

Please do not visit us if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has and are socially isolating. Our patients are very vulnerable.

When you visit, please come to the hospital in good time to attend your scheduled visit. As you enter the building, clean your hands with the gel provided, put on a mask and come to critical care on the first floor in the purple zone. You will need to ring the buzzer to be allowed in to the critical care corridor where someone will help you.

To enter the intensive care unit or high dependency to see your relative you will be asked to wear an apron, gloves and a fitted mask. Staff will help you to put the protective equipment on and take it off when you leave. It is important that you clean your hands both on entry and exit to the department. It is also suggested that due to the risk of COVID-19 that you return straight home and wash your clothing at 60 degrees. Please do not bring bags and valuables into the department as they should not be left unattended when you are visiting your relative.

We understand that visiting in critical care can be very distressing at any time, and especially at the moment. We understand, and will try to support you in any way we can. Please let us know how we can help, or improve the experience.

Keeping in contact

The clinical and nursing staff are extremely busy caring for patients at the moment and for this reason they may not always be available to speak to you on the phone.

We advise the named next of kin to call into the unit after 14.00hrs to get an update. This is because the doctors will be reviewing the patients in the morning therefore updates tend to be available later in the afternoon.  The updates are provided by either the ICU medical team or the nurse caring for your loved one.  The doctors are unlikely to be in a position to give daily updates however we would like you to be reassured that they would contact you should they have any concerns.

The contact number is: 01737 7768511

If you have further concerns, please contact the ICU matrons:

Information for families of COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care


Our purpose built Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit are based on the first floor of East Surrey Hospital. The ICU has 10 beds for patients needing more advanced organ support, including mechanical ventilation, renal support, and cardiovascular support. A dedicated team of consultants and nurses look after critically ill patients 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The ICU cares for around 600 patients a year.

The ICU team also provides a 24/7 Critical Care Outreach Service for patients who are ill but not severe enough to go to ICU. The Outreach team continues to oversee the care of the ICU patients’ when they are discharged to the ward to ensure their recovery continues.

Some critically ill patients requiring specialist treatment, such as cardiac or neuro surgery, are transferred to other hospitals. The ICU team has a specially designed ambulance transfer trolley (Ferno) which can take equipment like an intra-aortic balloon pump, which provides cardiovascular support to heart attack patients if required.

Follow up consultations

Former patients and their relatives are invited back for follow up consultations, usually 3-4 months after their discharge home. These appointments are led by nurses and offer patients the opportunity to discuss any concerns relating to their illness during their stay in ICU. Recently, the ICU team introduced patient diaries. These help patients fill in the missing gaps in their lives during their stay in the ICU, specifically those who have been in a coma. Once they have recovered, the completed diary, which remains the property of the patient, is returned to them if desired at the follow-up consultation.

As soon as a patient arrives on ICU, their GP is informed, and is kept up-to date with their condition. A detailed account of the patient’s stay in ICU is sent to the GP in the discharge letter.

Information leaflet for relatives / friends of patients who require ventilation

Information for relatives COVID ventilation FINAL

Contact information

Tel: 01737 768511 x 2736

Tel: 01737 768511 x 6381 or 1670 (direct line 01737 231670)

Lead Nurse For Critical Care
Caroline Allison
tel. 01737 768 511 x 6385

“I can remember the paramedics coming to my flat and put me in the ambulance but I can’t remember any more until waking up in the ICU ward on Tuesday 20th August. The nurses and my 4 children told me what had happened and that I was very lucky to still be here. I must say a big thank you to all your staff and the Ambulance crew for looking after me on that Sunday and to all the staff in the ICU ward you were wonderful and so caring I can’t thank you enough for all you did for me. I am back at home now recovering and feeling stronger each day.”