Critical Care at Spire Manchester Hospital

11 October 2017

At Spire Manchester Hospital we are proud to provide a level 2/3 critical care unit for our patients who need extra care during their stay. Dr Julian Barker, one of our critical care consultants, has answered some of our questions about critical care here.


1.What is the difference between level 1, 2 and 3 critical care?

The levels of care are defined by the Intensive Care Society and they are a guide to the ratio of nursing care that a patient requires. Broad definitions of each level are:

Level 3 is one nurse to one patient - typically these patients are ventilated or dialysis dependent.

Level 2 is one nurse to two patients. Most post-operative critical care falls into this category. The patient might need some advanced respiratory support or may need cardiovascular support.

Level 1 care is slightly above ward level care – this is usually a patient that requires more monitoring than can easily be provided on the ward.

2. What would a usual day at Spire Manchester Hospital critical care unit entail?

The day would begin around 8am when the consultant intensivist on duty would take a telephone handover from the consultant who was on duty the previous day. In the morning, the resident critical care doctor will also review the patients on the unit. He will liaise with the parent consultant teams (surgeons and anaesthetists).

Also in the morning, the critical care consultant will come to the unit and make sure that the patients, nursing staff and resident doctor are all okay, troubleshoot any problems and agree any plans that need making. The critical care consultant will be available 24/7 should there be any emergency – either on the critical care unit or on the ward.

3. How long do patients usually stay in critical care?

With planned surgery, this is usually around one or two days.

With unforeseen complications this could potentially be several weeks. We are set-up to cope with these situations. If a patient should require extra-specialist care that is beyond the capability of Spire Manchester Hospital, then the critical care team will organise and manage the transfer of the patient.

4. What are the most common procedures carried out at Spire Manchester Hospital which may require a critical care stay?

Presently this is largely spinal surgery, obesity surgery or orthopaedic procedures in patients with some cardiovascular morbidity. We can also manage vascular surgery patients as well as more complex general surgery patients. The critical care team have experience at the highest level in cardiothoracic and general intensive care.

5. What are the benefits of having an onsite level 2/3 critical care unit?

The benefits are huge. Not just having the facility, but more importantly having the nursing and medical staff that can manage critically ill patients.

Patients and surgeons want to know that if things don’t go to plan, then there is an appropriate safety net to manage complications. This safety net needs to be there 24/7. This should mean that surgeons can have the confidence to bring their higher risk cases to Spire Manchester Hospital and patients can have confidence that should they run into complications then the expertise is on-site to manage them in the most appropriate, modern and compassionate way.


For more information about our critical care unit and the care we provide, please get in touch on 0161 447 6677 or 


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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