About this release

This is the second release by Public Health Scotland on data from the Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SICSAG) relating to patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) across Scotland with COVID-19.

Main points

As at 16 May 2020:

  • During the period 1 March 2020 to 16 May 2020 there were 516 admissions to ICUs in Scotland relating to 504 patients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease.
  • The peak period of patient admissions with COVID-19 to ICUs was between 29 March 2020 and 06 April 2020.
Image caption Number of ICU admissions with COVID-19
  • Mortality measured at 30-days after ICU admission was 38%, and was higher in those receiving advanced respiratory support, in those with comorbidities and in the oldest age group.
  • For patients who had completed their ICU stay, around 80% required advanced respiratory support, around 80% required cardiovascular support and around 30% required renal replacement therapy.
  • The baseline capacity for the most complex level of ICU care (level 3 care) was exceeded from 31 March 2020 to 24 April 2020. This activity peaked at 46% above baseline on 09 April 2020. This, however, remained substantially below the available capacity across Scotland.


The Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SICSAG) is the national adult critical care audit and quality assurance programme. It benefits from a close collaboration between the Scottish Intensive Care Society and Public Health Scotland. The audit has complete, national coverage of all admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) and combined critical care units in Scotland. Since 1995, the national audit has informed healthcare professionals, the public and Scottish Government about the activity, interventions and outcomes of over 45,000 critically ill patients who are treated each year in Scotland.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, SICSAG has transformed its systems to provide daily data to inform the response to the pandemic across Scotland. This report describes the admission frequency, demographics, activity and outcomes for patients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease admitted to Scottish units. It includes admissions to adult ICUs, combined intensive care/high dependency units, and areas of hospital which have been repurposed to provide intensive care. In this report, the term ‘ICU’ refers to these three types of facility. The report does not include admissions to paediatric ICUs, neonatal ICUs or standalone high dependency units (HDUs).

Further information

Further information is available from the SICSAG website (external website) and from the full report available on the PHS website.

The next release of this publication will be on an ad hoc basis.

General enquiries

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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