Private hospitals help treat NHS cancer and blood disease patients during pandemic
Private hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex have been helping treat some NHS patients during the coronavirus outbreak.
Some East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) staff have been working away from Colchester and Ipswich hospitals at private hospitals to help keep up patient care during the pandemic.
Through an agreement with the Government the sites at Oaks Hospital in Colchester and Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital sites and the teams who work there were made available to support the trust through the pandemic.
Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital is being used to treat cancer and haematology (diseases related to blood) patients, with inpatients and day unit patients from the Somersham Ward and Woolverstone Day Unit having been moved across there.
Cancer surgery and non-cancer urgent surgery is being carried out at Oaks Hospital.
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ESNEFT has been providing training sessions for staff at both locations to ensure teams had the skills to provide safe patient care through the pandemic.
The news comes only two weeks after it was revealed that the number of cancer referrals in Suffolk had dropped during the pandemic to as low as 20% of their normal levels, leading to concerns that patients were not getting symptoms checked.
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Speaking about the Trust’s work with Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, Dr Debo Ademokun, divisional clinical director for cancer and diagnostics at ESNEFT, said: “The staff on both sites were immense in terms of just getting things done in such a short space of time. From nursing, to operations and IT, everyone chipped in.
“Patients have told us they are pleased that they can be treated on a separate site in the current climate and they’re grateful that they have continued to receive their treatments.”
Ian Milne, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, said: “We are pleased to offer our support to NHS patients and the teams at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust at this challenging time.
“The whole team has been fantastic, and I am very proud of what they have all done so far, and for what they will be doing over the coming weeks.”
Speaking about the trust’s work at Oaks Hospital, ESNEFT’s lead cancer clinician Dr Subash Vasudevan said: “The whole team have been phenomenal. They’ve been so proactive and helpful.
“We have really pushed them in a way and they’ve gone beyond what they would normally be doing, which has helped us to treat our cancer patients in a timely manner.”
Amy Simpson, hospital director at Oaks Hospital, said: “Oaks Hospital will do everything it takes to support ESNEFT and the people of north east Essex at this time of crisis.
“Our staff are standing shoulder to shoulder with the NHS to fight against Covid-19. I am immensely proud of the Oaks Hospital team as we prepare for whatever is next.”