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Landmark critical care transfer service launches in the South West

Last updated: 26/11/2020

A new critical care transfer service, which is one of the first of its kind in the country, has launched in the South West.

Retrieve is the new South West Adult Critical Care Transfer Service and is funded by NHS England and Improvement South West and hosted by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW).

The team is responsible for transferring critically ill and injured patients who are already in hospitals across the region to specialist centres for treatment and specialist intensive care, as well as to repatriate them to a hospital closer to home, when they no longer need specialist care.

The service has a consultant-led team with dedicated clinical staff, vehicles and equipment and has bases in Bristol and Launceston in Cornwall.

A pilot during the first COVID-19 surge in the Severn region successfully and safely transferred 35 patients and provided knowledge and information that has informed the development of Retrieve. So far, 37 patients have been transferred since the launch of Retrieve on 2 November.

Dr Scott Grier, clinical lead for the service, said: “I am very proud to have led the development of Retrieve. Our team and the service they provide is truly game-changing for patients in the South West Critical Care Network and will improve the care they receive during transfer as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of our Network. 

“It is exciting to be one of the first services to provide this kind of care to adult patients anywhere in England and we are already collaborating with others who will soon follow.  Launching Retrieve would not have been possible without an extraordinary amount of time, effort and support from the project team, NHS England and Improvement South West, our host UHBW and many other partners and stakeholders. I am incredibly grateful to all who have supported us on this journey.”

The service transfers adults aged 16 and above and compliments WATCh (Wales and West Acute Transport for Children Service) and NEST (Newborn Emergency Stabilisation and Transport Team), which provide similar services for children and newborns and are also hosted by UHBW.

Find out more at www.retrieve.nhs.uk

The pilot was this week recognised as a South West regional winner in the Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care category in the NHS Parliamentary Awards. Find out more in a media release about the awards on the UHBW website here.