Team unavailable

CATS have 2 retrieval teams available 24/7, and transfer 1200 critically ill children to intensive care units each year (on average: 4 retrievals per day). Even so, during times of peak demand for PICU beds (mainly in winter), both retrieval teams may be busy at the same time.[break]

In the event that CATS are unable to provide a retrieval team, we will triage the patient based on their clinical condition, and manage the referral accordingly.[break]

If the referral is triaged as being urgent: 
CATS will immediately refer the patient to other retrieval services such as the South Thames Retrieval Service (STRS: or the London Neonatal Transport Service (NTS: and ask for their assistance.

If London teams are busy, we will contact other neighbouring retrieval teams such as Southampton & Oxford Retrieval Service (SORT) or Kids Intensive Care & Decision Support (KIDS) for assistance.

If the child is relatively stable:
CATS will establish if the child can be safely managed at the local hospital while waiting for the CATS team. We will maintain regular telephone contact with the referring hospital and provide ongoing advice as necessary, until a CATS team (or other retrieval team) became available.

We closely monitor delays in sending a retrieval team due to capacity constraints, and report any stays >8 hours at the referring hospital to the regional commissioners.