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Crit Care. 2001;5(3):131-7. Epub 2001 May 2.

Twenty-four hour presence of physicians in the ICU.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Göttingen, Germany.


Intensive-care units (ICUs) must be utilised in the most efficient way. Greater input of intensivists leads to better outcomes and more efficient use of resources. 'Closed' ICUs operate as functional units with a competent on-site team and their own management under the supervision of a full-time intensivist directly responsible for the treatment. Twenty-four-hour coverage by on-site physicians is mandatory to maintain the service. At night, the on-site physicians need not necessarily be specialists as long as an experienced intensivist is on call. Because of the shortage of intensivists, such standards will be difficult to maintain everywhere, but they should, at least, be mandatory for larger hospitals serving as regional centres.

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