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Department of Critical Care Medicine (DCCM)

Welcome to the Auckland City Hospital DCCM

Critical care is the specialist care given to patients with sudden and potentially reversible life-threatening diseases or injuries. This can include following accidents, operations, severe infections or a coma. Critical care is divided into two areas; intensive care, where the sickest patients are cared for, and high dependency, where patients who are not well enough to return to general wards are cared for.

Information for patients and whānau

Information for visitors

We are open 24/7 365 days a year but closed to visiting between:

  • 8.30am to 11am
  • 4pm to 5 pm
  • 9pm to 11pm.

You may be asked to leave briefly during these times.

Visiting between 10pm and 8.30am is by arrangement only.

Visiting is generally limited to next-of-kin or close friends and no more than two visitors may be with the patient at a time. Patient care takes priority and visiting may not be possible when some procedures are being undertaken.

Waiting rooms are provided in the Level 8 gallery nearby. Overnight accommodation is not permitted in this area, but limited accommodation is available on-site at the Te Whare Awhina (Ph. 09 307 4949 ext 25830) or nearby off-site at Domain Lodge (Ph. 09 308 0161).

Children are permitted to visit but as there are hazards present please supervise children at all times to ensure their safety.

To reduce the risk of infection, please clean your hands with alcohol gel before and after visiting the patient area. Flowers are not permitted in the patient area as they may be an infection risk.


Refreshment vending machines are available in the Level 8 gallery, and there are food and beverage outlets on Level 5 open 8am to 8pm daily.()

DCCM patient follow-up clinic

Patients transferred out of DCCM are followed up by registered nurses working as part of the follow-up service.

A follow-up coordinator liaises with the DCCM nurse consultant. The service is overseen by the DCCM Quality Group.

Patients who are discharged or transferred from the DCCM are contacted within six months. Nurses document if patients are contacted after six months.

The objectives of the patient follow-up clinic are to:

  • provide professional and effective telephone contact with, or account of, patients who have experienced a critical illness that involved admission to the DCCM
  • provide a quality service that provides support, reassurance and information to patients and families following critical illness
  • allow family and patients the opportunity to debrief and be referred to a GP or appropriate health service if necessary
  • collect and document data surrounding the patient’s perspective of their DCCM experience that will inform DCCM staff on patient outcomes and quality of service
  • report and utilise the information gathered to meet the objectives of the quality plan, promoting a standard of excellence in patient care
  • protect the information in a manner that complies with the requirements of the Health Information Privacy Code
  • provide an effective monitoring system of quality of service for the DCCM.

Bereavement follow-up clinic

DCCM provides a nurse-led Bereavement Follow-up clinic to the next-of-kin and their families/whanau of patients who have died following a critical illness in the DCCM.

The Bereavement Follow-up Clinic's objectives are to:

  •   Determine how the next-of-kin are coping in early bereavement
  •   Answer any unanswered questions
  •   Ensure that the next-of-kin understands why their relative died
  •   Facilitate resolution of issues by appropriate referral, information or family  meeting

Next-of-kin are informed of the Bereavement follow-up service by a posted information sheet 7 – 14 days after the death and then contacted by telephone four to twelve weeks after the death and consent for an interview is obtained. A structured telephone interview is undertaken on how the next-of-kin are coping, and about the experience, they had during end-of-life care for their relative.  As appropriate, referrals are written, issues addressed and further family meetings arranged with intensivists when required.

The interview is entered into a database for analysis and continuous quality improvement initiatives.

More information can be found in our bereavement information pamphlet

If you need to get in touch with us before this time, please telephone DCCM on 09 307 4949 ext 24800. Ask to speak with the Clinical Charge Nurse. They will ensure your contact details are referred to a member of the Bereavement Team, who will make contact with you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can email us and the Bereavement Team will contact you.

Eligibility & fees

If a patient is not eligible for publicly funded healthcare in New Zealand, there will be a charge for intensive care and high dependency services (except if the admission is due to accidental injury and eligible for ACC). More information on eligibility & fees.


Further information can be found on

Critical care at Auckland City Hospital

About our department

The Department of Critical Care Medicine (DCCM) is one of the leading critical care units in New Zealand, located on the 8th floor of Auckland City Hospital. We provide intensive and high-dependency care for patients over the age of 15 for all conditions except heart, lung and blood vessel surgery. Our specialist areas of intensive care include liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation and neurological conditions. Intensive care for heart, lung and vascular surgery is provided by the Cardiothoracic and Vascular Intensive Care Unit.

The unit is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is staffed by a large team of experienced doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. We have 24 beds in total - 18 are open bed spaces, and the remaining 6 are isolation side rooms.

We have over 1400 admissions per year of which 75% are emergency and 25% elective. The median length of stay in DCCM is 1.5 days, however, patients may require a prolonged stay.

Patients may be admitted to Critical Care from the emergency department, hospital wards, operating theatre or following transfer from another hospital or intensive care unit.

Our team

DCCM is staffed by a team of highly experienced and professional doctors and nurses who are supported by other healthcare professionals including physiotherapists, dietitians, pharmacists, radiographers and biomedical technicians.

Medical care is provided by specialist doctors trained to look after very ill patients (intensivists), and supported by doctors training to be specialists in intensive care, anaesthesia, emergency medicine, internal medicine and surgery.

Many nurses are specialised through post-graduate training and qualifications in intensive care. Patients requiring intensive care treatment have individual nurses caring for them. High-dependency patients are cared for by nurses who are also looking after other patients

Join our team

Interested in joining our team? Visit for more information. 

Useful links


The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society provides ongoing education, leadership in medical settings, clinical research & analysis.

College of Intensive Care Medicine

The College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM) is the body responsible for intensive care medicine specialist training and education in Australia and New Zealand.

Critical Care Compendium

LITFL Critical Care Compendium is a comprehensive collection of pages covering the core topics and controversies of critical care.

Critical Care Journal

Critical Care is a high-quality, peer-reviewed, international clinical medical journal.

Critical Care Reviews

Critical Care Reviews is a free, not-for-profit, educational critical care project promoting open access to scientific advancement.

Deranged Physiology

A free online resource for Intensive Care Medicine and unofficial fellowship exam (CICM Part 2) preparation resource.

Grief Centre

Grief Centre provides support, advice and counselling to help those affected by loss and grief.

Intensive Care Network

The Intensive Care Network (ICN) has been developed to educate, link and stimulate healthcare professionals involved in critical care.

Northern Regional ICU Teaching

Northern Regional ICU Teaching is designed for the use of trainees who are part of the northern ICU teaching program.

Organ Donation NZ

Organ Donation NZ has information on deceased organ and tissue donation and support for families going through the decision-making process of donation.


Radiopaedia is a free educational radiology resource with one of the web's largest collections of radiology cases and reference articles.


Skylight is a national not-for-profit trust that supports children, young people, their family/whanau and friends to navigate through times of trauma, loss and grief.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line was built to create a compendium of landmark papers shaping the way critically ill patients are managed. 

Trauma Services

Visit the website for Trauma Services at Auckland City Hospital.

DCCM research

Coming soon...

History of intensive care medicine in NZ

Modern intensive care medicine began with the use of prolonged artificial ventilation during the poliomyelitis epidemics of the 1950s and the recognition that the intensive nursing care necessary to treat these patients successfully was best provided in a separate area of the hospital with its own staff, equipment, and organisation.

Intensive care began early in New Zealand – it seems likely that Dr Matthew Spence began the first intensive care unit in the southern hemisphere in 1958 at Auckland Hospital. The Department of Critical Care Medicine (DCCM) is the descendant of that first ICU. The special requirements of the work and attributes of its practitioners led to the founding of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) by Dr Spence and Dr Wright from Sydney in 1975.