Guy’s and St Thomas’ have treated more than 1,000 coronavirus patients since the outbreak of the pandemic, its top boss has revealed, with hundreds of Trust staff isolating.
Dr Ian Abbs, CEO of the Trust which manages the hospitals, praised the “extraordinary courage and determination,” of doctors and nurses in responding to the crisis.
In a report to be presented to the Trust’s board this afternoon, Dr Abbs revealed that at the peak of the crisis in early April 1,600 staff were forced off-work to isolate.
Last week that figure was down to 600 staff. Of the number of coronavirus patients treated, more than 900 had been discharged to recover safely in the community.
Despite reported shortages of protective equipment for key workers across the NHS, the Trust’s top boss said supplies at Guy’s and St Thomas’ were “sufficient.”
“The Trust has responded with extraordinary courage and determination to this unprecedented challenge and I would like to start by thanking all of the staff working across our services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, for all that they are doing and will do in the weeks and months ahead to support our response,” he said.
“All of us, whether clinical or non-clinical, are key NHS healthcare workers and are in a vital position to respond to this national and international emergency.”
To respond to the unprecedented pandemic, the hospitals – which treated Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month – were forced to expand their critical care capacity dramatically.
“The medical wards, as well as those normally devoted to other specialities, have also been reconfigured to provide care to COVID -19 positive patients who require hospital level care,” states the report.
“To date the Trust has had sufficient capacity to meet the demand being placed on critical care and general and acute medical beds.”
Staff at the hospitals are being offered coronavirus tests either on-site at St Thomas’ or at a drive-through testing facility at the O2 in Greenwich.
Around 400 staff have had these tests to see whether they are safe to return to work.
As a consequence of the social distancing rules, many have been deferring seeking medical help across the NHS.
“We know that fewer people are seeking help for their immediate health needs,” said Dr Abbs.
“People should not hesitate to seek medical support when they need to.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, as they were among the few hospitals with a specialist infectious diseases unit at the start of the outbreak.
Donations and offers of support have come flooding in. “We have been absolutely inundated with donations from individuals and various businesses in the UK and across the world,” the report states.
“All of the kind donations have contributed to making what is an incredibly challenging time a little easier for our staff and I would like to thank everyone who has donated in some way to our organisation.”