Meet the new matron of Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital: Anthony Fitzgerald

“My role is to inspire and take care of nurses and clinicians, supporting them to deliver outstanding care to our patients. No other London hospital can offer patients a connected clinical pathway in the way this new hospital can.”

This autumn, Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital will open its doors. Anthony Fitzgerald – the hospital’s newly appointed Matron – explains why our patients will receive a unique, connected healthcare service at the new hospital and how nurses and clinicians from all backgrounds can grow their careers.

Why have you joined a hospital that isn’t open until the autumn?

I joined the team in November and I’m very impressed with everything I’ve seen so far. I’ve had a tour of the construction site for the new hospital and viewed a virtual tour that shows how it will look when completed; I’m getting very excited about the opening later this year!

My focus now is working to develop an environment and culture that attracts the best nurses and clinicians in London to our team. Our aim is to offer our patients the most complete pathways within cardiology, cardiac surgery, oncology and orthopaedics, so we need expertise from all backgrounds to do this. Our team will come from a range of backgrounds – both the NHS and independent sector – with no shared history, but they will all be passionate about delivering excellence.

With so many successful hospitals in London, what will make Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital different?

No other London Hospital can offer patients a connected clinical pathway in the way this new hospital can. A patient can be referred by a Nuffield Health GP, receive treatment at our new hospital and then choose to receive rehabilitation at any of our 21 fitness and wellbeing centres across London, or even at one of our 92 centres across the UK. From diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, our patients will receive the most advanced care.

What services and facilities will the new hospital have?

There’ll be 55 individual en-suite rooms, four of the most advanced digital operating theatres available, seven specialist intensive care beds, a full diagnostic imaging suite, an oncology day unit and 28 consultation rooms. As the new hospital will be on the campus of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, the second largest heart hospital in Europe, the patient mix and services offered will be cardiac focused but will also cater for a full range of medical services, including general surgery, orthopaedics, gynaecology, urology and oncology care.

What will the new hospital offer the team of nurses and clinicians that work there?

We’re offering a range of exciting opportunities, for nurses and other clinicians, in oncology, radiology, pharmacy and more. My priority is to attract the best healthcare professionals and support them with continual learning and a flexible work-life balance so they can deliver the best one-to-one care to patients at the new hospital. Spending more time with our patients creates a special relationship between the patient and their nurse or clinician, and helps us respond to their individual health and mental health needs. The patient will be involved and informed in their own care, getting to know their nurse and clinician so they can truly receive personalised care.

I will create a learning environment where we can all become better professionals. This includes developing nurses and clinicians professionally through CPD and giving them access to the Nuffield Health Academy. It also means learning from best practice examples elsewhere, both internationally and closer to home, so that we can deliver outstanding care to patients.

As a charity, Nuffield Health doesn’t answer to shareholders. This attracted me to join and I think it will attract others too. We reinvest our income into delivering excellence in patient care, so our new hospital can have the latest technologies. Nuffield Health’s values of being ethically inclusive, flexible, responsive and aspirational will guide how we all work in the new hospital.

Tell us about your recent secondment in the NHS COVID-19 vaccination team?

My secondment ran from January to March at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust. I chose to support the NHS because there was an acute need for registered nurses to support care delivery on the NHS frontline. I’m proud to be a nurse and I was humbled by the opportunity to offer words of encouragement and to be able to administer the vaccine to NHS nurses and teams so that they could go on delivering care to patients day after day.

How important is the relationship between Barts Health NHS Trust and Nuffield Health – what can be shared between both organisations?

Barts Health NHS Trust Hospital is an internationally-renowned centre of excellence for cardiac care. If you have a heart condition, it’s the number one place to go to because of the standards of clinical and patient care, so we are very proud to be working with Barts Health NHS Trust.

Our new hospital is next to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and our aim is to be the number one independent cardiac hospital. We are committed to enhancing the fantastic reputation, history and expertise that Barts Health NHS Trust already has. The NHS will directly benefit from Nuffield Health’s private patient activity, as any financial surpluses generated are routed back to the NHS Trust to filter into its NHS services.

Has COVID-19 changed the relationship between clinicians and patients?

The instinct is always to offer reassurance to a patient through touch, but due to COVID-19 we can’t do that now, so we’ve had to learn to interact in a different way. Nurses, clinicians and patients have learnt to smile with their eyes and some nurses have put photographs on their aprons, so patients can see the face behind the mask.

We are all looking forward to better times ahead, but during the pandemic I’ve seen so many nurses and clinicians step up and show their dedication to care, for example, orthopaedic nurses from my previous hospital working at the Nightingale Hospital in London. One nurse saw six deaths on one shift, something she wasn’t used to seeing as orthopaedics is generally low risk.

How has the new hospital been designed and have nurses and clinicians been involved?

St Bartholomew’s Hospital is a stunning building, with an inspiring 900-year history. We are transforming their former pathology and residential staff quarters buildings sensitively; the design and construction will ensure the new buildings are not only beautiful, but provide state-of-the-art medical technology in a welcoming environment too.

Nuffield Health’s nursing team have been actively involved with the design of the new hospital. This is because of a policy introduced during the build of Nuffield Health’s Cambridge Hospital that opened in 2015 and subsequently became the first independent hospital in the UK to achieve an “outstanding” rating from the Care Quality Commission.

The design of any new hospital must consider the interaction between patients, clinicians and visitors, along with supplies and equipment. Listening to the nurse and clinician perspective of how best to accommodate these interactions ensures efficiency and high-quality care. Our nurses and clinicians have worked with architects and designers to create an environment where they can consistently provide excellent personalised care and the best patient experience in a modern setting.

Find out more about the new hospital and vacancies.

More about this story
Matron announced for new Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital, Clinical Services Journal
Nuffield Appoints Matron for New City of London Hospital, Healthcare Market News

Last updated Wednesday 21 April 2021

First published on Wednesday 21 April 2021