Geographical access to critical care services in Scotland

Philip Emerson, Naomi Dodds, David R Green, Jan O Jansen

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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Critical illness requires specialist and timely management. The aim of this study was to create a geographic accessibility profile of the Scottish population to emergency departments and intensive care units.

This was a descriptive, geographical analysis of population access to ‘intermediate’ and ‘definitive’ critical care services in Scotland. Access was defined by the number of people able to reach services within 45 to 60 min, by road and by helicopter. Access was analysed by health board, rurality and as a country using freely available geographically referenced population data.

Ninety-six percent of the population reside within a 45-min drive of the nearest intermediate critical care facility, and 94% of the population live within a 45-min ambulance drive time to the nearest intensive care unit. By helicopter, these figures were 95% and 91%, respectively. Some health boards had no access to definitive critical care services within 45 min via helicopter or road. Very remote small towns and very remote rural areas had poorer access than less remote and rural regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen receives funding from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors alone.


  • GIS
  • Scotland
  • Critical Care
  • Intensive Care
  • access


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