South London and Kent hospitals report on NHS partnerships to tackle Covid 19

As South London and Kent further eases out of lockdown, BMI Healthcare hospitals are reporting how they worked with local NHS partners to ensure the health system has the capacity to treat patients desperately ill with Coronavirus.

The London health system has been under immense pressure as the epicentre for Covid-19 since the pandemic outbreak. To assist to collective effort, the region’s private hospitals within the BMI Healthcare family have been supporting NHS partners at Guy’s and St Thomas', King’s College Hospital, Lewisham and Greenwich, St George’s and Croydon University NHS trusts. The BMI Healthcare hospitals have been sharing equipment and providing NHS care to patients in need of time critical surgery and diagnostics.

The pandemic-focused partnership 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 national effort has added a further 10,000 nurses, 700 doctors and 8,000 beds – including hundreds of bed days, staff and equipment from BMI Healthcare’s 50 hospitals in the UK, including South London and Kent’s BMI The Blackheath Hospital, BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital, BMI The Sloane Hospital and BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital:

BMI Blackheath Hospital, Lee Terrace, Blackheath

To treat patients needing care during the pandemic NHS, BMI The Blackheath Hospital, in Blackheath, has been operating two theatres and its endoscopy suite to support its NHS colleagues at nearby NHS hospitals.

Staff are conducting outpatient tests such as cardiology testing, CT and MRI scans to aid timely diagnosis of potentially serious health conditions. In addition, the team was able to support King’s College Hospital for urgent spinal surgery.

BMI The Blackheath Hospital Executive Director Hannah Dyer said: “It is crucially important that all healthcare providers play their part in tackling this terrible pandemic. It is about playing to your strengths and ensuring you can make an important difference. The partnership between NHS and BMI staff has been outstanding and ensured that patients have continued to be assessed and diagnosed despite the enormous pressure on the NHS.

“It is testament to the great relationship we have with our local NHS providers that we were able to work together so effectively and quickly. We have worked alongside our NHS colleagues to support our local communities for many years and there is little doubt this was crucial to us successfully responding to this emergency.”

BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital, Bucks Cross Road, Orpington

The team at BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital, in Orpington, carried out more than 40-day case procedures and loaned equipment to the NHS, including four crucial ventilators and syringe ventilators. Many staff from the hospital also supported NHS patients in other BMI facilities across the UK.

While Covid-19 has dominated the health headlines, there remains significant concern that other medical conditions remain undiagnosed as the public avoid NHS hospitals. To help meet this need, BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital dedicated one operating theatre to treat those patients with gastric conditions who had waited over 13 weeks for a procedure.

BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital Director Sue Jones said: “As a hospital group it was clear we had to play our part in tackling this crisis. I am proud that our strong relationship with the local NHS providers ensured we could respond effectively and quickly to relieve the burden on hospitals across South East London and Kent. The professionalism and expertise of our staff to go above and beyond is a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a fantastic choice of healthcare provision across our locality.

“But we must remember we are still in trying times. The pressure is now moving to diagnosing and treating those who have stayed away from hospitals, and we have to play our part in that. The Government has now allowed us to return partially to business as normal, so we ask those who have been waiting to access our healthcare to please make contact.

BMI The Sloane Hospital, Albemarle Road, Beckenham

Staff at BMI The Sloane Hospital, in Beckenham, provided treatment for patients including those requiring breast surgery and intervention for urology conditions. It also provided much-needed equipment to local NHS services including syringe drivers.

BMI The Sloane Hospital Executive Director Dan England said: “South London was the epicentre of the pandemic, so we had to respond quickly to meet the growing need for health resources. There is little doubt that our long-term and robust relationship with our NHS partners allowed this to happen efficiently and effectively.

“Together, the professionalism and skills of healthcare and community staff across South London, in both the public and independent sectors, saved lives. But we cannot stand still, the pandemic is far from over. Our focus now is to open our doors to those who have stayed at home with healthcare concerns and to put their minds at rest or diagnose appropriately.”

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital, Poppy Lane, Croydon

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital, in Croydon, worked with Croydon University Hospital to treat people with complex medical cases to free up beds in the NHS.  It also lent equipment to the NHS including ventilators and anaesthetic machines, and continues to support the NHS by undertaking procedures for those patients with time-sensitive cancer treatments, those needing care outside of the NHS hospital and those needing gynaecology intervention.

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital Director Annette Sharp said: “The response to Covid-19 has been a truly team effort that reflects the professionalism of all involved. The work between the NHS, social care and ourselves in the independent sector really has been outstanding in such as short response time. But it cannot stop now, we all have much more to do and the partnership working must continue.

“We now move to diagnosing and treating those who members of the public who stayed away from hospitals. We have an important part to play in that. We are now trying to return to seeing patients as close to business as normal as possible, so we ask those who have been waiting to access our healthcare to please make contact.”

The teams continue to provide essential NHS care while now undertaking elective appointments for those choosing to be treated at the hospital. They are also now starting to take referrals for private and insured patients with initial ‘remote’ outpatient and physiotherapy consultations. The management teams at BMI Healthcare continue to plan alongside NHS colleagues to respond to future need.

Notes to editors

For all media enquiries or more information on the story, please contact:

Sloane and Chelsfield Park: Stephen Leigh - [email protected]

Shirley Oaks and Blackheath: Victoria Page - [email protected]

About BMI Healthcare

BMI Healthcare has been part of Circle Health since June 2020. Established in 1970, BMI Healthcare is one of the UK’s largest independent provider of private healthcare with more than 50 hospitals and healthcare facilities in England, Scotland and Wales.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit www.bmihealthcare.co.uk

Date: 20th July 2020