Hospitals and clinics across London’s Harley Street Medical Area (HSMA) are collaborating with the NHS to meet the continued need for specialist treatments which are being put under pressure while the fight against the COVID-19 virus continues.
King Edward VII’s Hospital took less than 48 hours to respond to the call from the NHS, turning over all resources in the fight against the virus and admitting their first NHS patients on March 23rd. Since starting their NHS programme three weeks ago, the independent, charitable hospital has treated 218 time-critical NHS cancer patients, freeing up invaluable capacity at this unprecedented time. The hospital has redeployed equipment as required and has put forward a number of volunteers to be seconded to the newly built NHS Nightingale Hospital in London.
Chief Executive Lindsey Condron said: “We are deeply committed and proud to be able to provide our support to the NHS in the fight against COVID-19. We have dedicated our wards, theatres, equipment and staff indefinitely during this national crisis, and we will continue to serve in any way we can.”
The London Clinic is providing full access to its hospital campus, which includes a 13-bed level 4 advanced intensive care unit, pioneering cancer care unit, 10 theatres, and more than 230 beds. The hospital’s healthcare team, including around 450 expert nurses and 900 leading consultants, will provide care 24/7 for as long as they are needed. Many staff from The London Clinic volunteered to work at NHS Nightingale – with 22 specialists being selected by the NHS. The hospital is also loaning vital lifesaving equipment including six ventilators and 12 pump and syringe machines, amongst other equipment.
Al Russell, The London Clinic’s Chief Executive, said: “We face an unprecedented situation, one that becomes more challenging and complex as each day passes. Our colleagues in the NHS are working tirelessly, day-and-night, to support everyone impacted in extreme circumstances.
“The independent sector is stepping up to support, and The London Clinic, as one of the UK’s largest independent hospitals as well as a charity, is no different. We are determined to support this effort with all the energy and capability we can muster.”
Another major Harley Street healthcare group, HCA Healthcare UK, is also providing care to NHS patients whose care and clinical needs are considered time critical. It has made its full capacity of 837 beds, 38 theatres and over 1600 registered nurse and theatre employees, available to support the NHS. The healthcare group have also provided 22 ventilators to the NHS, and also called for volunteers to work at newly formed NHS Nightingale Hospital.
The Schoen Clinic– a private hospital specialising in spine and orthopaedics – has contributed life-saving equipment including ventilators and PPE, and staff directly to the front lines of the NHS, including to the new Nightingale facility. During this period of crisis, they are continuing to see patients via remote consultation, arranging and undertaking diagnostic imaging and prescribing treatment for those patients with time critical conditions.
One of the most iconic business in the HSMA, John Bell & Croyden, is continuing to offer a primary care service during these challenging times. The pharmacy has been serving London for more than 220 years and is operating a wholesale service, online, dispensing pharmacy, and private GP. It has also launched video nutritional consultations to offer informative advice on how to boost your immune system, among other topics.
Andrew Hynard, Chief Executive of The Howard de Walden Estate – the major landlord in the Harley Street Medical Area – commented : “We are extremely proud that so many of our private hospitals are assisting the NHS and supporting and treating patients impacted by COVID-19. By uniting in this way, it means vital hospital equipment, facilities, clinicians, and medical expertise are strengthening the NHS efforts to cope with this crisis and to help save lives”.
Other initiatives across the HSMA that are responding to the pandemic:
- Fortius Clinic are providing an ambulatory orthopaedic service in both outpatient and surgical. It will provide support by freeing up capacity for the NHS to focus on treating more critical patients and those with COVID-19. The clinic will also carry out all other outpatient work via telemedicine, securely and confidentially, or by phone and/or video.
- Isokinetic is continuing therapy with its newly developed programme, ‘Isokinetic at Home’. Specialising in sports injury treatment, orthopaedic rehabilitation and research, the clinic is encouraging people to remain active remotely until it is safe for them to meet again. Doctors and therapists will guide users for free in their activities – in a “smart” mode using video and phone calls, and through a personalised path of exercises.
- Bodyset also took an early decision to adapt its services and move them online. With the assistance of an existing technology partner, they have been able to begin Online Physio services immediately. The Online Physio services offer the same assessment, diagnosis and treatment plans virtually as in-person.
- Nightingale Hospital, a leading provider of private psychiatric hospital in central London, quickly adapted to the COVID-19 crisis and now offers numerous ways in which patients can access expert support remotely. This includes video consultations with consultant psychiatrists, and one-to-one and group sessions with therapists utilising platforms such as Zoom and Skype. As inpatient psychiatric treatment is at times essential, the hospital continues to admit patients, whilst adhering to strict health and safety policies.
- Whilst the Priory Harley Street Wellbeing Centre is closed, to protect both patients and staff, they are currently not offering face-to-face therapy on an outpatient or day-care basis. People can still get access to expert therapists and as assessments via the Priory Connect video therapy service and through Skype. Priory Connect allows people to connect online (via video) to an expert therapist for 1:1 cognitive behavioural therapy.
- Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care’s 77 Wimpole Street location is still open for clinically urgent cases and are offering telephone or video consultations for all others. The diagnostic facilities are still open for urgent tests .As one of only five adult Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) centres in the country, Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals are playing a vital role in dealing with unprecedented and increasing demand for adult ECMO beds in the U.K. for those suffering with severe respiratory failure. Harefield Hospital has become one of two designated emergency cardiac surgical centres in London. The team have a major role to play in maintaining essential cardiac service for existing and new patients, across the sector.