Over 12,000 NHS patients have been seen at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic - now the independent hospital is set to become an NHS orthopaedic surgical unit as it continues to support its local NHS Trust.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital has taken pressure off the NHS by providing additional capacity to treat patients from their local NHS Trust.
At the start of the pandemic it was agreed that Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital would support University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP NHS Trust) by locating the Trust’s Oncology Unit and Minor Injuries Unit at their hospital. Like all other independent healthcare providers in the UK, their private healthcare activity ceased. In an unprecedented move, the private hospital (which has been running for 49 years) along with all their staff became part of the NHS. Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital and UHP NHS Trust reported on their unexpected but successful collaboration – the coming together of these two Plymouth hospitals has been considered significant enough to feature in a national report published by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network: https://1vju531mjrgz2givvt3vgvrr-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Working-together-during-covid19-2.pdf
As has been reported, Covid-19 cases in the region have significantly reduced, with the UHP NHS Trust now able to rebook the procedures they cancelled during lock down.
There is a step change ahead for Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital as it adapts for the second phase of the NHS contract. In its continued role to support the NHS, Derriford’s Minor Injuries shall remain at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, however Oncology shall move back to the trust. Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital shall reopen its theatres (which have been used as NHS chemotherapy treatment rooms) and become an orthopaedic surgical unit for Derriford Hospital, treating patients with non-complex medical needs. The partnership between UHP and Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital was made possible under a national agreement, which the independent sector signed to make its staff, equipment and facilities available to the NHS to help alleviate the pressure caused by the pandemic
Shannon Oxenham, Matron & Clinical Lead, Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, said “Our work with UHP has been fundamental in providing them with additional capacity for their oncology and minor injuries throughout lockdown. Oncology has moved back to the trust and we shall soon be providing them with surgical capacity to help treat their backlog of non-complex orthopaedic patients awaiting surgery. Our hospital has been a valuable resource to our local NHS trust and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be Nuffield’s clinical lead throughout these challenging times in Plymouth.
“We have had to plan the next stage of reconfigurations with military precision. Incredibly over 12,000 NHS patients have been through our hospital since the start of Covid-19! It has been challenging and rewarding in equal measure.”
Patricia Warwick, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, said: “We are pleased to continue to offer our support to our local NHS trust at this challenging time.
“Supporting the NHS during this unprecedented global health emergency is still the right thing to do and I pay tribute to the dedication of all my colleagues who have come together to provide high quality care in such challenging circumstances.”
The Trust’s arrangements with the independent sector is expected to continue for several months as they work through the backlog of cases.
Natasha Stokes, Trauma, Orthopaedic and Rheumatology Service Line Cluster Manager at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said:
“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital team to recommence elective orthopaedic operating.
“Setting this service up in such a short space of time, and making sure we are compliant with post Covid-19 new norms to keep our patients and our staff safe has certainly given us all a lot to think about, but working together, we have overcome the challenges we were faced with at the beginning and look forward to receiving our first patients on 3 August 2020.
We are grateful to the Nuffield Health team for their positive and proactive approach to supporting the NHS.”