What to Expect

We know that managing a critically ill child can be stressful and that every minute counts. However, without sufficient clinical information, we cannot make an informed decision about the urgency of retrieval, nor can we provide good quality immediate advice. We aim to take a succinct referral and reach a decision quickly.

In all cases, you can expect from us:

1. A prompt and courteous response
We have a team of Retrieval Administrators available 24/7 to attend the Referral Hotline. The Administrators will record some basic patient details before passing the referral to the clinical team.
2. A patient ear and immediate advice
The clinical team, consisting of experienced PICU doctors and nurses, will collect all relevant information that is needed to make a decision. They will also offer some immediate advice that might be helpful to manage the critically ill child.
3. A prompt decision about PICU admission and retrieval
All referrals are discussed with the CATS Consultant Intensivist before any decision is reached. The CATS Consultant decides whether the CATS specialist retrieval team should be mobilised, and prioritises the referral according to clinical urgency.
4. Rapid team mobilisation
If a team is available, they will aim to leave CATS base within 20 minutes of accepting an urgent referral. We have maintained this target for team mobilisation time for the past 3 years.
5. A patient-centred approach to retrieval 
We always ask the referrer if the patient is already known to a tertiary centre, so that we can transfer critically ill children to the most suitable available PICU bed. If a child needs urgent admission to PICU, we will transfer them to any available PICU bed, even if it is outside London.