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Directed by the Critical Care Network Board, each health board is required to develop a long-term plan for both beds and workforce.

To facilitate this, a capacity working group has been established to continue the recommendations outlined by the Task and Finish group on critical care, which was published in 2019.  

Recommendations were made to increase capacity in most health boards. The group will consider the service changes since the publication of the report, such as the impact of the pandemic, unit centralisation/reconfiguration, introduction of the post anaesthetic care units and respiratory high-care/non-invasive ventilation areas.  

The requirement for critical care beds will be calculated by mathematical modelling to provide a more accurate method for estimating numbers of beds and will be determined by the hospital configuration rather than just population size. The number of critical care beds required will depend on the capacity and capability of the hospital concerned.

The critical care senior nurse forum was established to enable the most senior critical care nurses in Wales to come together and share issues and concerns and to develop and spread nursing best practice.

Its primary purpose is to develop critical care nursing for adults in Wales and to take forward the Chief Nursing Officer’s priorities.

The Task and Finish report for critical care (2019) recommended the expansion of post anaesthetic care units (PACU) to offer enhanced care for high risk, post operative patients.

The group is currently focused on specialist education for staff working in the area, supporting health boards to implement PACU beds and developing a dataset to capture outcomes of PACU patients and demonstrate how PACU beds support the Welsh Government Planned Care Recovery Plan.

The All-Wales Critical Care Education Network seeks to bring about improvements in critical care nurse education in Wales. The membership is the critical care nursing practice educators from the local university health boards and critical care lecturers from Welsh universities.

It helped establish a UK-wide critical care training course for nurses that is now provided by three universities in Wales.
The group is also assisting nursing practice educators to introduce UK-wide competencies for critical care nurses. 

The group makes recommendations to the Critical Care Network Board on rehabilitation and follow up services development required in Wales in the short, medium and long term (based upon the FICM's Life After Critical Illness guide and NICE guidelines and standards).

The group has:

  • Developed an all-Wales multi-professional service specification for critical care follow-up and rehabilitation services for local adoption and implementation and will audit follow-up clinic attendance throughout Wales
  • Developed Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) 
  • Built upon the University Hospital of Wales 'Keeping Me Well' website to make it Wales-wide. This website provides information on critical care recovery for patients and families
  • Agreed a rehabilitation prescription to be used.

Ongoing work includes the development of an education programme and peer review of Allied Health Professionals.