Our crucial role in the second Covid-19 peak | News from The Royal London

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Our crucial role in the second Covid-19 peak

This week Barts Health shared the story of the group's response to the second Covid-19 peak, A winter like no other [pdf] 10MB, which reveals the crucial role that The Royal London Hospital played.

Our second wave was more challenging than the first because we held onto planned elective work for much longer, and faced higher demand for emergency trauma care.

We balanced retaining routine services with expanding to care for the most unwell Covid-19 patients. At the peak we cared for 400 Covid patients, of whom over 150 required critical care (almost double the level last April).

We managed through the extra capacity of the Queen Elizabeth Unit, plus extra temporary staffing (notably from St Bartholomew’s). We are proud of the response of all our staff, particularly those redeployed for the second time in a year. In January we redeployed 336 nurses and 339 doctors to cover 1,300 shifts. Substantive staff with critical care and respiratory experience provided mentoring.

Our medical physics teams helped set up six additional wards in record time; our pharmacy teams changed their ways of working to ensure that nursing and doctor time was spent on essential tasks; and our support service partners managed a huge increase in requirements – from procuring 12,000 additional scrubs to supplying 29,000 free meals a week.

Our mortuary staff rose to unexpected fame in Clive Myrie’s atmospheric pieces for the BBC, at the height of the January pressure, but we owe a huge debt to all bereavement, chaplaincy and volunteer teams for their unstinting support to families.

We are also grateful to well-being teams for looking after staff through psychology, tuck shops, therapy sessions and massage chairs.

Winter was business as usual for our Tower Hamlets maternity services, which delivered over 1,700 babies between October and February.

Mile End worked closely with tenant partners to create a “green” Covid-free zone at the front of the hospital. This allowed it to continue running essential safe services for vulnerable patients, including infusion and pain procedures.

Picture by Tania Olive

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