University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Paediatric retrievals: information for parents

The retrieval service consists of a highly trained team who have had specialist training in the transfers of sick children from other hospitals to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital.

The retrieval team is made up of a doctor, nurse, technician and ambulance driver.

Children are taken to the paediatric intensive care unit where they can be treated by a wide range of doctors and nurses who specialise in seriously ill children. There are risks involved in moving ill children from one hospital to another but it is felt that the benefits of the care that can be given in Southampton outweighs the risks.

What has happened up until now?

We will have received a call from the hospital to which your child had been admitted. This call was to inform us of your child’s condition and to ascertain whether or not we need to take over his/her care or just give some information and advice concerning your child’s illness.

A decision has been made that we should come and assess your child. If we feel that your child needs specialist treatment and care that cannot be delivered at the hospital that they are currently at, we will take your child back to Southampton PICU.

What happens before we set off for Southampton?

Once we arrive at your hospital, we will introduce ourselves to you. We will need to assess your child and take details about your child’s illness and what the doctors have done so far. We may need to spend some more time with your child carrying out further treatment, before it is safe to move him or her. Once we have done this one of us will come and talk to you about your child’s condition and what we have done to prepare them for transfer.

Please feel free to ask us questions as we feel it is important that you understand what is happening.

Can you follow the ambulance?

For safety reasons it is not advisable to follow our ambulance back to Southampton. It is important to remember that this is a very stressful time for you and therefore taking a steady journey to Southampton is probably in your best interest.

This may be an opportunity for you to get yourself prepared for a stay in Southampton. Directions and a map will be given to you should you need it. We will try to find accommodation within the hospital for you.