The remit of the Critical Care Specialty Group is to support a national portfolio of high quality research studies relating to the care of critically ill patients. The research relates primarily to intensive care, high dependency care and acute medical care, but important overlap with areas such as emergency medicine, anaesthesia, perioperative care, and rehabilitation after severe illness also occur.
The main purpose of the Specialty Group is to ensure that clinical research studies in this area are delivered on target and on time. This is facilitated through local research networks based in CLRNs (Comprehensive Local Research Networks) which are linked nationally through Specialty Group representatives.
The national group actively manages the research portfolio through regular progress review, identification of recruitment barriers and problems, and actions to break these down. This is achieved by active engagement and interaction with chief investigators, trial managers, local CLRN managers, clinicians/PIs, and the national research network organisations.
The group also engages with groups such as the UK Intensive Care Society, regional intensive care societies, ICNARC (Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre), and the UK Trials Forum which are setting the future research agenda. These interactions enable effective capacity planning for the future and maximise research efficiency, for example by actively promoting new or existing studies seeking additional sites to individual centres. This ensures continuity for research staff.
The Critical Care Specialty Group’s research portfolio includes single and multicentre studies, and research designs ranging from large pragmatic observational cohort studies to complex randomised intervention trials. Most of the studies are investigator initiated and led, but increasingly commercial studies will also be included.
Some key themes of studies on the critical care portfolio are:
- Interventions to improve outcomes from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis
- Understanding the long term implications of critical illness and how to improve recovery
- The mechanisms and management of brain injury
- Developing risk models to guide intensive care treatments for common conditions or complications
- Minimising riskand morbidity associated with major surgery