Critical care

The Royal London Hospital Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) provides care to critically ill children aged 0 to 18 years from The Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross and Newham, as well as from other district general hospitals in the North East London region and, occasionally, from further afield. The children coming from outside The Royal London Hospital are usually transferred by the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS).

We have six critical care beds that are used flexibly as intensive care or high-dependency care beds and we admit around 400 patients/year. We provide treatment for severe chest infections, other serious infections, neurological conditions and for children requiring surgery. Our hospital is also a paediatric major trauma centre, so we admit seriously injured children.

Meet the team

Our team

Children admitted to our PCCU are looked after by Consultants and Nurses specialised in intensive care, and by trainee doctors who are supervised by the Consultants. Depending on their needs, patients receive one-to-one or two-to-one nursing care.

We have a team of specialised physiotherapists who support our patients round the clock and a specialist PCCU pharmacist.

Other staff working on the Unit include a ward administrator, a housekeeper, students, healthcare assistants, ventilator technicians, dieticians, psychologists, social workers and chaplains.

Consultants

  • Dr Simona Lampariello (Lead)
  • Dr Naomi Edmonds
  • Dr Mamta Vaidya
  • Dr Emma Bould
  • Dr Konstantinos Dimitriades
  • Dr Salman Siddiqi

Senior Nurses

  • Olwen Cowen (Matron)
  • Becki Oxley (PDN)
  • Annie Crouch
  • Jo Lowe
  • Charlotte Robertson
  • Sam Hambrook
  • Jon Perks
  • Brian McConville

Information for parents, carers and families

Parents of children admitted to PCCU are allowed to stay at the bedside most of the time. We do try to encourage parents to have enough rest during the day-time and at night. Friends and relatives are allowed between 11.00 and 19.00.

There are times when we ask all relatives – including parents - to leave the Unit, such as during ward rounds, unit meetings or when emergency procedures are being carried out.

Below are the times when no visitors are allowed on the Unit:

  • Morning nursing handover: 7.45 – 8.15
  • Morning round: 10.00 – 12.00
  • Afternoon round: approximately 16.00 – 17.00
  • Evening nursing handover: 19.45 – 20.15

Please bear in mind that these times are approximate.

Your child’s nurse will arrange a time for you to speak to the doctor after the ward round so that you can discuss your child’s progress.

Parent accommodation

Parents of children admitted to PCCU can spend the first night in one of our two dedicated parents’ rooms, which are on the Unit itself. Thereafter accommodation is provided at The Sick Children’s Trust, a short walk away.

How many people can visit?

Please limit the number of visitors to a maximum of three at any one time (including the parents). Other visitors will be asked to wait outside the ward until a space becomes free. Please note that one parent has to be present while other people are visiting or they have to give written permission for visitors while they are not there. If there is any confusion about who can visit a child, we will always give priority to people with ‘parental responsibility’ for the patient.

Our patients’ safety is our utmost concern and if a parent is not present and they have not given permission for visitors, we can and will refuse entry to the Unit.

Brothers and sisters are welcome to visit but must always be supervised by a responsible adult. No other children should visit.

What can I bring?

Please bring in your child’s toiletries.

You are welcome to bring presents for patients but please be aware of some restrictions.

  • Latex (stretchy rubber) balloons are not allowed, as some of our patients can have life-threatening latex allergies. Foil balloons do not cause these problems so you are welcome to bring these.
  • Everything you bring in for your child should be washable to reduce the risk of infection. This includes soft toys.
  • Hot drinks or food of any kind are not allowed.
  • When you are visiting, please keep the area around the child’s bed tidy so that our nurses can reach the bed easily and quickly.

Please note that the hospital cannot accept responsibility for any loss of or damage to personal property.

Infection control

Please do not visit if you have a cold, cough or an upset stomach, or think you have recently been in contact with someone who has. You should wait until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours before you visit. Other infectious diseases including chicken pox and measles could be particularly dangerous for some of our patients so please do not visit if you have been in contact with them recently. If in doubt, please speak to your bedside nurse or the nurse in charge.

When you visit, please wash your hands thoroughly before you enter the ward and use the alcohol gel provided. When you leave the patient, please wash your hands again and use alcohol gel.

Will you give me information about the patient’s progress?

We will only give this information to the child’s parents unless they give us permission to tell anyone else. If family and friends want to receive regular updates on a child’s progress, we suggest parents tell one person who is then responsible for telling everyone else. This is often easier to manage than making lots of phone calls every time a child’s condition changes.

Can I telephone the patient or their parents?

For incoming calls, you may use the direct telephone lines to the unit. If friends or relatives call, we will take a message but we ask that these calls be kept to a minimum. Nurses cannot give information about a patient to anyone except his or her parents.

Mobile phones can be used inside the hospital, but please keep them on silent, limit use by the bedside and always respect other patients’ need for rest. Using your mobile elsewhere could cause interference with our medical equipment.

Facilities

For mothers who wish to breastfeed, we provide a dedicated room on the Unit, as well as the equipment to 'express' milk so your child can be fed through a nasogastric tube, if necessary.

There is a Family Area with toys and a TV and a Family kitchen, with facilities for hot drinks and heating food. There are two unisex toilets for parents and visitors along the corridor.

Clinical trials and research

We are often involved in clinical trials, so you may be asked for consent to enrol your child. This is important so that we can learn more about what the best treatments for children are. There is no obligation to participate in the studies and all children are treated equally, whether they are in a trial or not.

More information

If you have any questions during your stay, please ask the lead nurse, ward sister or other nursing staff, who will be very happy to help.

If you wish to raise any issues, please telephone the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Office on 020 7829 7862.

Information for professionals

We offer placements, observerships and fellowships. Please email Dr Kon Dimitirades on Konstantinos.Dimitriades@bartshealth.nhs.uk.

We also offer nurse placements, observerships and placements for other health professionals. Please email Olwen Cowen (olwen.cowen@bartshealth.nhs.uk) or Becki Oxley (becky.oxley@bartshealth.nhs.uk) for more information.

Contact us

  • Reception: 020359 40382/3
  • Nurse in charge: 020359 40381
  • Registrar: 020359 45667