Spire hospital scoops top award for COVID response

23 April 2021

Spire Healthcare’s Montefiore Hospital in Hove last night won a national award, recognising its early response to the COVID crisis while ensuring its cancer patients continued to receive care throughout the pandemic.

At the fifteenth annual LaingBuisson Awards – this year held virtually – the Spire hospital achieved the Outstanding Response to COVID in Healthcare Award in the face of tough competition from hospitals and healthcare providers from across the UK.

“We are delighted to win this award which reflects the tremendous hard work and dedication of all the team during this difficult year,” said the hospital’s Director of Clinical Services Lynette Awdry. “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 because it demonstrated ‘a strong culture delivering better care, excellent communication, early responses, adapting to and overcoming challenges during the pandemic including the turn-around of a challenging situation in healthcare’.

The Montefiore’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and government lockdown restrictions was part of Spire Healthcare’s national response and was viewed by the judges to be ahead of its competitors in the region.

In early March last year, before any national directive, the hospital’s management team had already decided to stop elective surgery, focusing only on time-critical procedures, such as cancer, and had informed all affected patients.

Simultaneously, the hospital completed a detailed assessment of its own resources and skill set and, by the Easter weekend 2020, had made a proposal to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (recently renamed University Hospitals Sussex) to become a `green’ oncology COVID NHS hub.

In line with Spire Healthcare’s COVID secure patient pathways, the geography of the entire hospital was redesigned with designated zones (red, amber, green) to keep patients safe. The hospital ward was one such protected zone, and on-call beds were created to enable clinicians to stay on site if required.

Based on the proposal, the Trust assigned The Montefiore to be a regional hub for clinically urgent surgery. The Trust’s leads came to view the hospital, so they could then inform their patients.

By April 15, the hospital 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.

The Montefiore was also able to benefit from Spire Healthcare’s testing protocols, which allowed the hospital quickly to introduce testing for colleagues, consultants and patients, and remain secure from COVID.

At the same time, the hospital continued to provide care for its cancer patients, including practical and emotional support such as launching a home delivery service for chemotherapy drugs, and making regular contact with chemotherapy patients via Zoom or telephone to see how they are coping.

“Having cancer during a pandemic is extremely frightening and challenging for patients, relatives, staff and clinicians involved,” adds Awdry. ”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.”

Spire Healthcare responded to the pandemic by caring for over 250,000 NHS patients, and during the most recent lockdown nine Spire sites across the country acted as NHS cancer hubs.

All Spire Healthcare hospitals are now fully open for private patients while continuing to provide care for NHS patients and help reduce waiting times.