The first Critical Care Outreach Team (CCOT) at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is now up and running.

Members of this pioneering team are excited to be offering this distinctive service that aims to elevate patient care, bolster ward staff, alleviate pressure on hospital teams, enable upskilling of colleagues, and provide support for families and carers.

Bernadette Hope, Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Critical Care and Surgery Care Group at UHMBT, said: “This is a completely new service and it is wonderful news that the Trust has made this investment in patient care. We are a safety net for our extremely sick patients – it’s all about the patients!

“Our role is to recognise and respond to clinically unwell patients whose condition is deteriorating or at risk of deterioration. The main benefits are early detection and treatment of acute illness, better outcomes for patients, reduced length of stay for patients and getting people treated in the right place with the right levels of care.

“We support clinical staff at the patient’s bedside. We also have an educational role so we can provide training and upskilling for colleagues. In addition to this, we support patients, families and carers at the bedside with information and advice.”

The service is to operate seven days a week, from 7.30am to 8.30pm, including bank holidays, when it becomes fully operational.

As part of the Critical Care and Surgery Care Group, the team includes 12 nursing staff members led by Dr Rachel Markham, Consultant in Anaesthetics and Critical Care, under the aegis of Cross Bay Matron for Critical Care and Surgery, Helen Irving.

Dependence on the Deteriorating Patient Alert System (DPAS) allows the team to identify the critically unwell patients at FGH and the RLI.

The highly-amplified DPAS system, a development credit to UHMBT, was a Nursing Times Awards finalist in 2022.

Bernadette said: “Families appreciate our input. We make sure that patients, families and carers understand what is happening and what the plans are.

“We are aiming to have a seven-day service across FGH and the RLI by the end of October. It’s very exciting and great news for patients and colleagues that the Trust is investing in this valuable service.”