Historic partnership with NHS in Norwich

20 April 2020

A landmark agreement between Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) and Spire Healthcare is enabling hundreds of Norfolk NHS patients with cancer to receive treatment at Spire’s Norwich hospital, allowing Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital to focus on caring for people with COVID-19. 

Spire Norwich Hospital did not provide a chemotherapy service prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, but since the end of March, it has worked with staff from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to transfer its entire chemotherapy service to Spire. Approximately 300 patients use the service each week.  

As well as cancer patients, Spire Norwich Hospital is providing care for NHS patients who need cardiological treatment and spinal surgery. A midwifery clinic is planned to begin in the next few weeks. Since the partnership began three weeks ago, Spire Norwich Hospital has seen 500 NHS patients, and is carrying out 35-40 urgent operations per week.

The partnership between Spire Healthcare and the Trust been made possible under a national agreement, which Spire, alongside the whole of the independent sector, has signed to make its staff, equipment and facilities available to the NHS to help alleviate the pressure caused by the pandemic.

Nayab Haider, Hospital Director at Spire Healthcare, said: “We are very proud to be supporting the NHS during the worst public health crisis seen in decades. Even though tackling the coronavirus is the number one priority, it is so important that people with other urgent health conditions continue to access the treatment they require. We are very pleased that we’re able to play our part in meeting this need.” 

Sam Higginson, Chief Executive at NNUH, said: “Our mission is to care for our patients, whether they have Covid-19 or other urgent care needs which are unrelated to the pandemic. The support we have received from Spire has been tremendous and we are delighted to be working in partnership to benefit the local community at this difficult time.”

Additionally, Linda Page, a former nurse who retired from her role as Senior Surgical Matron at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital two years ago, has agreed to return to nursing at Spire Norwich Hospital. Louise Sokalsky, Director of Clinical Services at Spire Norwich Hospital, had worked with Linda for over 10 years and approached her when the outbreak began. With 37 years’ experience, Linda’s relationships with key people at the Trust has proved to be invaluable in setting up the new cancer service at Spire Norwich Hospital.

Linda Page said: “When the COVID-19 outbreak began, I knew I had to return to work and lend my skills in the national effort against this disease. I was daunted at coming back to work, but everyone at Spire Norwich Hospital has gone out of their way to welcome me and others who have joined recently. I know that all the cancer patients who come here in the next few weeks will benefit from the same positive spirit that I have encountered, which will make their stay in hospital that bit easier.”

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