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Private Brentwood hospital helps ease treatment waiting list crisis by taking on BHRUT patients

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 October 2020

Spire Hartswood. Picture: Phil Jones

Spire Hartswood. Picture: Phil Jones

Phil Jones

A landmark agreement between the NHS and a private Brentwood hospital has meant thousands of patients in east London and Essex have been able to keep receiving treatment while Romford and Goodmayes hospitals cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 7,500 patients received cancer and other urgent treatment at Spire Hartswood Hospital under an agreement between Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and the hospital.

During the peak of the pandemic, the hospital became a dedicated to cancer centre. Since then, those requiring surgery for urological, breast, neurological and gynaecological cancer have also come to Spire to and for many months, the hospital took over the whole of BHRUT’s skin cancer service.

The majority of the trust’s chemotherapy service, along with a number of clinicians, relocated to Spire in just one week during the peak of the pandemic, while the Ambulatory Care unit was repurposed as a centre for patients to receive drug treatment through infusion for BHRUT patients.

Throughout the pandemic Spire has varied its treatments depending on the needs of BHRUT. At the start of the peak, it became a centre for Covid-19 patients to recover, after spending the most acute phase of their illness in BHRUT’s hospitals.

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Now, in the coming weeks, the hospital will help to reduce NHS waiting lists by providing routine surgery alongside its ongoing work to deliver cancer care.

Pamela Austin, an NHS patient who had treatment at Spire Hartswood, said: “Being diagnosed with cancer by the Gynae Team at Queen’s Hospital during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic came as a complete shock.

“I was so grateful to have the surgery at Spire Hartswood, under the care of Miss Mukhopadhyay, where the expertise of the whole team was exemplary at every stage of my treatment.”

Chief medical officer, Magda Smith added: “It was quite an undertaking to relocate a huge chunk of our chemotherapy service within a week, so I’m extremely proud of our team, and everyone at Spire, for working together to make it happen to help us during the peak.”

BHRUT has introduced surgery at King George in July, after putting in place “a raft of measures to keep patients safe”, including a Covid-protected green zone.

Spire Hartswood’s hospital director, Jo Dean, said: “I am very proud of the support we have been able to offer the NHS during this unprecedented national emergency and humbled that we have been able to provide care to so many patients who would otherwise have seen their treatment delayed.”


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