HSMA provides vital support to NHS during pandemic

NEWS - 17TH APRIL 2020

How hospitals in the HSMA are providing facilities, equipment and staff to assist in the fight against Covid-19

There are currently over two million cases of coronavirus registered across the world, across more than 200 countries—and counting. In the UK, the number of confirmed cases is on the rise, with well over 100,000 people having tested positive across the country. Tragically, the number of deaths has also been rising exponentially.

Conference centres and venues in London, Manchester, Coventry, Bristol and Harrogate are being turned into emergency hospitals to provide thousands of extra beds. The NHS is under immense pressure, and with a peak said to be just weeks away, it is bracing itself for a surge of new coronavirus cases.

In the heat of this crisis, what is called for is unity. All across the country, we are also witnessing the relentless hard work of  doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are working round the clock to keep us safe—and indeed all the key workers whose efforts help to maintain as close to a feeling of normality as possible.

Behind the scenes, many private hospitals have also been joining the national response to Covid-19, uniting with the NHS in the fight against the disease. Many have introduced pioneering new measures to ensure patients can still access world-class medical care while they, along with staff, remain safe.

Supporting the NHS
So, how are clinics and hospitals within the Harley Street Medical Area helping to support the NHS during what is the single biggest health challenge our country has faced in generations?

King Edward VII’s Hospital took less than 48 hours to respond to the call from the NHS, turning over all resources in the fight against the virus and admitting its first NHS patients on 23rd March. Since starting its NHS programme, the independent charitable hospital has treated more than 200 time-critical NHS cancer patients, freeing up valuable capacity elsewhere. The hospital has redeployed equipment as required and has put forward a number of volunteers to be seconded to the newly-built NHS Nightingale Hospital in London.

The London Clinic is providing full access to its hospital campus, which includes a 13-bed level 4 advanced intensive care unit, pioneering cancer care unit, 10 theatres and more than 230 beds. The hospital’s healthcare team, including around 450 nurses and 900 consultants, will provide care 24/7 for as long as they are needed. Many staff from The London Clinic volunteered to work at NHS Nightingale, with 22 specialists being selected by the NHS. The hospital is also loaning vital lifesaving equipment, including six ventilators and 12 pump and syringe machines.

Another major Harley Street healthcare group, HCA Healthcare UK, is providing care to NHS patients whose care and clinical needs are considered time critical. It has made its full capacity of 837 beds, 38 theatres and over 1,600 registered nurse and theatre employees available to support the NHS. The healthcare group has also provided 22 ventilators to the NHS, and called for volunteers to work at the newly-formed NHS Nightingale Hospital.

Life-saving equipment
Schoen Clinic London, a private hospital specialising in spine and orthopaedics, has contributed staff and life-saving equipment including ventilators and PPE directly to the front lines of the NHS, including to the new Nightingale facility. During this period of crisis, the hospital is continuing to see patients via remote consultation, arranging and undertaking diagnostic imaging and prescribing treatment for those patients with time-critical conditions.

Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care’s 77 Wimpole Street location is still open for clinically urgent cases and is offering telephone or video consultations for all others. The diagnostic facilities are still open for urgent tests. As one of only five adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) centres in the country, the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Trust is playing a vital role in dealing with unprecedented and increasing demand for adult ECMO beds for those suffering with severe respiratory failure. Harefield Hospital has become one of two designated emergency cardiac surgical centres in London, and the team have a major role to play in maintaining essential cardiac service for existing and new patients, across the sector.

Keeping its doors firmly open is the John Bell & Croyden pharmacy, which will continue to offer a primary care service during these challenging times. The pharmacy, which has been serving London for over 220 years, is still operating a wholesale service, online dispensing pharmacy, and private GP. It has alsolaunched video nutritional consultations to offer advice on how to boost your immune system, among other topics.

Andrew Hynard, chief executive of The Howard de Walden Estate, the steward of the Harley Street Medical Area, commented: “We are extremely proud that so many of our private hospitals are assisting the NHS and supporting and treating patients impacted by Covid-19. By uniting in this way, it means vital hospital equipment, facilities, clinicians and medical expertise are strengthening the NHS efforts to cope with this crisis and help save lives.”