Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care

Service detail

The Department of Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care consists of specialist doctors in the field of neuro-anaesthesia and intensive care medicine. Approximately half of the consultants also work on the Critical Care Unit at The Walton Centre.

Neuro-anaesthesia is a speciality within the field of anaesthesia and our consultants have sub-speciality interests within this field such as anaesthesia for neuro-radiology, awake neuro-surgery, neuro-oncology surgery, functional neuro-surgery, neuro-vascular surgery and spinal surgery amongst others. Specialist care is provided for those requiring both elective surgery, and emergency surgery 24 hours a day.

In addition to collaborating with different trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside region, we also work closely with Aintree Hospital, with whom we share a site, to provide emergency neuro-anaesthesia to the regional major trauma centre at Aintree Hospital.

The theatre staff consists of nurses and operating department practitioners who specialise in anaesthesia, recovery and scrub (working with the surgeons during operations). In addition, we have a team of health care assistants who help care for the patient under anaesthesia and can help to carry out procedures.

Prior to an elective operation, you will be invited to a pre-operative assessment clinic. Here, specialist nurses will assess all aspects of your health and arrange for any extra tests you need before an operation. They may also arrange for you to be reviewed by a consultant anaesthetist if required. This clinic is a good opportunity for you to ask questions about your anaesthetic, and you will also be given a leaflet to take home which will explain the process and risks involved.

Our Critical Care/Intensive Care Unit is one of the largest dedicated neuro-critical care units in Europe. We specialise in looking after both neuro-surgical patients around the time of their operation, whether this is elective or emergency, and also neurology patients. We have patients on the unit from all over Cheshire and Merseyside, and also North Wales and the Isle of Man. The doctors on the unit are supported by a team of specialists who can help you get better quicker. These include physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists and nurses who specialise in neuro-critical care. We also have a cohort of Advanced Critical Care Practitioners who come from a diverse clinical background and support the medical staff with practical procedures, patient assessment and treatment and prescribing.

The Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care Department is part of the training network for junior anaesthetists and intensive care trainees, with some fellows coming from around the world to work with us at The Walton Centre. We also host foundation doctors and neuro-surgical trainees who rotate through the critical care unit as part of their training.

Department of Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care - key staff

Dr Sandeep Lakhani – Divisional Clinical Director, Neurosurgical division

Dr Akshay Sule – Clinical Director of Anaesthesia and Critical Care

Oonagh Doherty – Matron for Critical Care

Katie Bradbrook – Lead nurse for pre-op assessment


Theatre Team

  • Victoria Lightfoot - Theatre Matron
  • Olivia Cox - Clinical Lead for Cranial Surgery
  • Christina Byrne - Clinical Lead for Spinal Surgery
  • Oliver Tierney - Clinical Lead for Education, Risk and Governance
  • David Phillips - Clinical Lead for Anaesthetics, Recovery and Estates
  • Rani Varghese - Clinical Lead for Pain and Functional surgery

Getting here

Horsley Critical Care/Intensive CAre Unit is located on the ground floor.

Theatres is located on the ground floor.

The Walton Centre - Main Hospital Building

The Walton Centre Main Building

This building hosts many of our in-patient services, including wards and theatres, and some outpatients services.


Lower Lane, Liverpool, L9 7LJ

Directions and map

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is not responsible for third-party sites or content.

Patient leaflets

Anaesthesia Explained

This leaflet explains the process of having an anaesthetic and tries to answer common questions along the way.  It gives you information about how you may receive anaesthesia and pain relief for your operation.

Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care Consultants

Dr Elaine Anderson

Dr Elaine Anderson is a Consultant Anaesthetist at The Walton Centre, specialising in Neuroanaesthesia and Neuro Critical Care.

Dr Christopher Whitehead

At The Walton Centre, Dr Whitehead is the Medical Appraisal Lead and the Clinical Director for Pain Medicine.

Dr Helen Butterfield

Dr Butterfield has a special interest in communication skills and end of life care. She has been involved in communication skills training and simulation workshops at the Trust’s Simulation Centre.  

Dr Jennifer Burgess

Dr Jennifer Burgess is a Consultant Neuroanaesthetist at The Walton Centre and the Clinical Lead for Organ Donation. In addition to her clinical achievements Dr Burgess has also successfully completed a postgraduate certificate in Medical Education. This allows her to provide good quality educational supervision to the anaesthetists of tomorrow.


Dr Joanna Lynes

Dr Joanna Lynes is a Consultant Anaesthetist at The Walton Centre. 

Dr William E Bickerstaffe

Dr William Bickerstaffe is a Consultant in neuro anaesthesia and critical care.

Dr Sandeep Lakhani

Dr Lakhani was the Clinical Director for Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care from 2012 to 2019 and is currently the Divisional Clinical Director, Neurosurgical division.

Dr Jon Taylor

Dr Jon Taylor is a Consultant in Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care at The Walton Centre. Away from The Walton Centre, Jon works for the ambulance service as a major incident doctor and a volunteer responder, and is also a volunteer responder for Cheshire Search and Rescue.

Related Services

Critical Care - Horsley Ward

The Horsley Intensive Care Unit consists of 20 beds


A world renowned multidisciplinary Theatre team, accredited by the Royal College of Anaesthetists

Page last updated: 04 September 2023