Geographical access to critical care services in Scotland

Academic Article


  • Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Emerson P; Dodds N; Green DR; Jansen JO
  • Start Page

  • 6
  • End Page

  • 14
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 1