A Hove hospital has won a national award for its early response to the coronavirus crisis while ensuring that its cancer patients continued to receive care throughout the pandemic.
The Montefiore Hospital won the Outstanding Response to Covid in Healthcare Award at the 15th annual LaingBuisson Awards where the Royal Marsden was among the other winners.
The hospital’s director of clinical services Lynette Awdry said: “We are delighted to win this award which reflects the tremendous hard work and dedication of all the team during this difficult year.
“When we opened our doors in 2012, little did we know we would be supporting our NHS colleagues during a global pandemic eight years later.”
The accolade was given to the hospital for demonstrating “a strong culture delivering better care, excellent communication, early responses, adapting to and overcoming challenges during the pandemic including the turnaround of a challenging situation in healthcare”.
The private hospital’s response to the covid-19 outbreak and government lockdown restrictions was ahead of its competitors in the region.
In early March last year, before any national directive, the Spire hospital’s management team had already decided to stop elective surgery.
It focused only on time-critical procedures, such as cancer, and contacted every patient affected by the changes.
At the same time, the hospital completed a detailed assessment of its own resources and skill-set and, by the Easter weekend last year, contacted NHS hospital bosses in Brighton.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, recently renamed University Hospitals Sussex, used the Montefiore as a regional NHS hub for oncology during the pandemic.
The geography of the entire hospital was redesigned with red, amber and green zones for patients with different symptoms and care needs to keep them safe.
By mid-April, the Montefiore was running theatre lists and a covid swabbing and pre-op test service for NHS time-critical patients.
It was the first independent hospital in the region to do surgery of any volume – and the hospital quickly adapted to digital technology to communicate with patients, GPs, consultants and staff.
It used Zoom to host virtual GP information events, patient physiotherapy classes and cancer support groups, daily staff meetings, to communicate with other private hospitals and for weekly meetings with the NHS trust.
At the same time, it continued to provide care for its cancer patients, including practical and emotional support such as setting up a home delivery service for chemotherapy drugs.
And it made regular contact with chemotherapy patients via Zoom or telephone to see how they were coping.
Lynette Awdry said: “Having cancer during a pandemic is extremely frightening and challenging for patients, relatives, staff and clinicians involved.
“Our response was agile and effective and allowed us to provide outstanding safe care for all our patients for which I would love to thank our wonderful staff.”
The Montefiore Hospital said that it was now fully open for private patients while continuing to provide care for NHS patients and help reduce waiting times.
The hospital also has a new managing director, Rachel Dixon, who joins with more than 30 years’ experience in healthcare.
She said: “The Montefiore Hospital holds a CQC outstanding accreditation but we should not rest on our laurels.
“We should always be looking for ways to further enhance the services and patient care we give, especially as we come out of covid.
“To do this, we must make sure we have the best trained workforce to deliver patient care safely and to the highest standard.”
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