Intensive care managers will tell health secretary Frank Dobson that patients are being put at risk by bed and staff shortages, at a meeting set to take place weeks after South East regional office ordered a 'stock- take' of intensive care provision.

Mr Dobson agreed to meet the South Thames intensive care unit managers group after chair Eddie Crunden wrote to prime minister Tony Blair. Mr Crunden said in the letter that patients were being put at 'substantial risk' by repeated transfers between units in a desperate search for beds.

Mr Crunden, ICU manager at East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, said Mr Dobson had 'admitted that adult intensive care may not have received the attention it should'. But he slammed the regional stock-take as 'duplication' of work done by the Audit Commission.