Intensive care


The intensive care unit (ICU), also known as critical care or intensive treatment unit (ITU), is where we care for patients who are critically ill.

Our intensive care units have 24-hour cover by a specialist consultant in intensive care medicine. Each consultant is supported by a team of junior grade doctors, who are at different stages of their training. A senior nurse leads every shift on each unit, and several other members of staff are involved in the care of patients. 

We have strict infection control measures in place, and all staff, patients and visitors are required to follow these.

Patient outcomes are reported to the national ICU audit of the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC).

Clinical governance is strictly adhered to, with excellent communication between ICU and the hospital clinical governance department.

The Royal Free Hospital ICU

The ICU at the Royal Free Hospital comprises of 46 intensive care beds. More than 1,500 patients are admitted to the Royal Free Hospital ICU each year. The Royal Free Hospital is a major referral centre for medical and surgical specialties. ICU is normally divided into two units, the intensive care unit (ICU) and the higher dependence unit (HDU). The ICU looks after patients who need the most constant care and the HDU cares for patients who require  monitoring and support that cannot be provided on other hospital wards. 

The ICU beds at the Royal Free Hospital are located on the third and fourth floors. 

The enhanced post-operative integrated care (EPIC) and post-operative are (PACU) units are on the third floor. 

There are three wards on the fourth floor ICU: South, East and West.  

The critical care team provides services to support all our in-patient specialties, including hepatobiliary surgery, hepatology, complex vascular surgery, infectious diseases and haematology. 

The Royal Free Hospital has an active organ transplant programme and we care for more than 100 liver transplant recipients each year. 

Barnet Hospital ICU

The ICU at Barnet Hospital comprises of 23 beds in two adjacent units: ICU North and ICU South. There are five ICU beds in side rooms.

Our ICU at Barnet Hospital admits more than 1,000 patients per year.

Patients from different specialties, including general acute medical patients, emergency and elective surgery, and acute renal replacement therapies, all receive treatment in Barnet ICU.

Patients receive a weekly multi-disciplinary clinical review.

ICU videos

We have created a series of short videos to provide you with more information about our ICUs. 

Introduction to our ICUs

This video provides information on: ICU staff members (00:29), why patients come to ICU (2:20), organ support (3:07), tubes and lines (4:14), medication (5:47)

Communication between patients and relatives/friends

Please be advised, specific information around changes we have had to make due to the pandemic is available in our COVID-19 and care of patients on the ICU video below

This video provides information on: Visiting ICU (00:00), video calls with relatives (00:53), motivational boards (1:03), communication with medical team (1:25), additional family support (2:10)

COVID-19 and care of patients on ICU

This video provides information on: Personal protective equipment (PPE) (00:19), why patients come to ICU (00:41), proning (00:55), visiting during Covid-19 (01:18)


This video provides information on: Weaning from organ support (00:01), tracheostomy (00:35), emotional and psychological support (1:44), rehabilitation (2:30)


This video provides information on: Research and recruitment into trials


Do you have an appointment?

Find your ward

  • Barnet Hospital

    Intensive care unit
    Barnet Hospital
    Wellhouse Lane
    EN5 3DJ

    Intensive care unit/high dependency unit north
    020 8216 5298 or 020 8216 5299

    Intensive care unit/high dependency unit south
    020 8216 4120, 020 8216 4115, 020 8216 6030 or 020 8216 6027

    Family liaison telephone number
    020 8216 4050 (available 8am-8pm, seven days a week for all enquiries)

    Email address: (this inbox is monitored between 8am-8pm, seven days a week)

  • Royal Free Hospital

    Intensive care unit
    Royal Free Hospital
    Pond Street
    NW3 2QG

    ICU contact number
    020 7794 0500 extension 24545 (available Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm)

    Email address: (this inbox is monitored 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)


Referral details

We welcome 24-hour consultant to consultant referral.

The Team