Cancer patients in North West London have been able to receive essential treatment throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to a strengthened working relationship between BMI Bishops Wood Hospital and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, in Northwood, Middlesex.
The private and NHS hospitals, co-located on the same site, both have a reputation for specialising in day-case and outpatient cancer treatments and have worked collaboratively for a number of years.
However, the nationwide response to the current Covid-19 pandemic has led to even closer arrangements. In total, 60 men and women undergoing a type of radiation therapy called Brachytherapy have received care at Bishop’s Wood, creating capacity for Mount Vernon to treat more patients. The move has seen a seamless transfer of patients and staff between the hospitals, and shared best practice and learning for the benefit of surgeons, ward and theatre teams.
Rachel Boxall, executive director at BMI Bishops Wood Hospital, said: “We have always worked closely with Mount Vernon, and so as the nation pulled together to respond to the Covid-19 crisis our strong links meant we were able to respond quickly and adapt our care pathways for patients so that there was no pause in their ongoing treatment.”
Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. It treats more than 5,000 patients a year, and is one of the leading cancer centres in the UK for researching new potential treatments.
Consultant oncologist Dr Roberto Alonzi, who works in both hospitals, said: “This has been a fantastic collaboration between the two organisations. It has provided us with the opportunity to treat our cancer patients, which would not have been possible if BMI Bishops Wood hadn’t stepped in and helped.
Critically, we have been able to treat cervical cancer patients whose lives depended on receiving the Brachytherapy procedure and definitely needed to have had this treatment without delay. Also, many patients with prostate cancer have managed to complete their treatment without delay, avoiding the inevitable anxiety which would have occurred.
The Bishops Wood theatre staff have been understanding in the way they’ve adapted to deal with the Brachytherapy technology, which they have not previously encountered. Also, the ward staff have shared their valuable experience in post-operative management and pain control. Patients have had a superior experience because they’ve been nursed with a dedicated surgical team who are used to post-operative patients, we have learnt much from them.
Overall this has been a very positive experience and one we would like to continue in the future, with or without Covid-19.”
Daniel Megias, Head of Radiotherapy at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, said: “The partnership with BMI Bishops Wood has ensured that during the Covid-19 pandemic cancer patients have continued to have essential brachytherapy treatments that play an important role in improving patient outcomes.
Teams from Mount Vernon Cancer Centre and BMI Bishops Wood have worked together to ensure a seamless service for cancer patients in an ever-challenging landscape – and we thank BMI Bishops Wood for its support to ensure we can continue to provide patients with high-quality care.”
The closer relationship was enabled through a central NHS initiative, which has seen NHS England block-book all private hospital services, facilities and clinical staff to help cope with the surge of Covid-19 patients. Altogether, this adds a further 10,000 nurses, 700 doctors and 8,000 beds – including the 39 beds and 230 staff from BMI Bishops Wood Hospital.
In addition to its cancer services, the team at BMI Bishops Wood has been caring for NHS patients who need urgent spinal surgery, and gynaecology patients. It has treated over 1,350 patients through outpatients, day case and inpatient procedures.
Notes to editors
About BMI Bishops Wood Hospital
BMI Bishops Wood Hospital is a 39-bed specialist cancer hospital with three operating theatres, diagnostic testing and a range of radiotherapy options. Led by executive director Rachel Boxall, the hospital employs approximately 230 healthcare professionals who provide services for NHS patients, for insured patients and for patients who choose to pay for their own care.
About Circle Health
Circle Health is the UK’s largest independent provider of private healthcare with more than 50 hospitals and healthcare facilities in England, Scotland and Wales. Circle acquired BMI Healthcare in June 2020.
For more information or to make an appointment, visit www.bmihealthcare.co.uk.
For more information on this story, contact Nicola Brown, ni[email protected], 077829 284074 or Harmeet Dari [email protected].
20th July 2020