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Transferring your child to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit/High Dependency Unit

Patient information A-Z

Why is my child being transferred to Addenbrooke’s?

Your child is being transferred for specialist care to a children’s (paediatric) intensive care unit/ high dependency unit (PICU/PHDU), where there are specially trained doctors and nurses to look after him/her.

Who will be taking my child to Addenbrooke’s?

The retrieval team consists of a doctor and a nurse who have been specifically trained to transport sick and critically ill children. They will spend some time at your hospital helping with the assessment and stabilisation of your child before the journey.

The team will carry all the necessary equipment and supplies that may be needed.

Once your child is stable enough to travel, the team will begin the transfer. You will be kept fully informed of all progress.

Can I go in the ambulance?

Unfortunately, there is very little space in the back of the ambulance due to the number of staff and amount of equipment, and therefore it will not always be possible for you to travel with your child. If the Children Acute Transport Service is collecting your child they have facilities for you to travel with them. Please ask the team when they arrive so you have time to make necessary arrangements.

How will I get there?

If you are unable to travel with your child and you do not have your own transport or someone to drive you to Addenbrooke’s, please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward you are on. There are often arrangements that can be made to facilitate your transfer. If you are travelling in your own car please do not follow the ambulance as they move swiftly and your safety is vital.

Can I stay?

Unfortunately you are unable to sleep at your child’s bedside or in the parent’s room due to restricted space. There is however, accommodation for parents at Addenbrooke’s provided by the Sick Children’s Trust and you are welcome to stay.

Where is my child being taken?

The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit can be reached from the main entrance C and D wards (level two) by using the lift or stairs to level three. It is well signposted. The entrance is through ward C3.

Please leave your car in one of the visitor car parks. A special rates ticket can be purchased from main reception during office hours.

Our address and telephone numbers are:

Box 7

Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Hills Road



Telephone: 01223 217715 / 217294 (direct line)

Privacy & Dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151