Neuroscience intensive care unit

Oxford Neuro intensive care unit is a 16 bed unit comprising 13 level 3 beds, or 11 +4 level 2 beds. It principally takes neurosciences patients but also accepts ENT/plastics/maxillofacial emergencies. The neurosurgical caseload provides experience in the management of traumatic brain injury, neurovascular emergencies (aneurysm, AVM, stroke), as well as a neuromedical casemix including refractory status epilepticus, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barre syndrome. There are postoperative elective admissions from neurosurgery, spinal surgery, ENT/OMFS/plastics.

“The NICU staff are friendly, helpful, and supportive. It is a great environment to be a clinician, and a great environment for supported training”. Dr George Hadjipavlou, Neuro ICM Fellow 2019

The Team

Dr Jon Westbrook – Divisional Medical Director

Dr Chris Kearns – Assistant DMD, Clinical Lead for NICU

Dr Mhairi Speirs

Dr Simon Raby – College Tutor

Dr Lara Prisco – Research Lead

Dr Birte Feix 

Dr Martin Birch – ST3 education and induction

Dr Karina Fitzgibbon – Medical equipment Lead

Dr Richard Siviter – Echo/POCUS Lead


The Rota

The unit is usually staffed by 2 consultants, with a StR and a F2 doctor. A neurocritical care fellow is often also on duty.  Fellowships may be available throughout the year.

The trainee rota is 1:8. Overall this is a busy attachment, particularly night shift. Unfortunately as with many rotas at the moment, gaps may be present due to trainee numbers.

There is ample opportunity for learning and to gain experience on both general principles of critical care and (sub) specialist ICM. We have a good record of retaining trainees for fellowships and consultant posts.

Rota is currently written by Dr Angus McKnight: angus.mcknight@ouh.nhs.uk

Fellowship Opportunities

The NICU offers a 12 months post CCT fellowship in Neurocritical care with Neuro-anaesthesia. The ratio between the two depends on the training expectations of the fellow. In addition to normal everyday care of patients, duties include running the unit with consultant supervision, and providing resident evening and resident night time assistance to the NICU registrar and sometimes for neuroanaesthesia emergencies. Anaesthesia opportunities include neurointerventional anaesthesia, awake craniotomies, base of skull surgery, complex spine, and functional/stereotactic surgery for movement disorders and pain. Fellows usually take on a management or development project to develop these skills in preparation for a consultant post.