Last April (2020) in just four days, ESNEFT’s Somersham Ward (oncology inpatients) and Woolverstone Day Unit (oncology outpatients) were successfully moved to Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, with NHS patients receiving uninterrupted cancer care including chemotherapy and haematology treatment. This freed up capacity for ESNEFT to care for and treat people showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, while shielding vulnerable patients with cancer.

The move made possible through a clinical governance collaboration between both the NHS and the Nuffield teams, making sure training and knowledge were shared. Over 40 members of Nuffield Health’s team received specialist training and worked alongside NHS clinicians.

After moving back to ESNEFT at the end of May last year (2020) after the first COVID-19 pandemic wave, both Somersham Ward and Woolverstone Day Units returned to Nuffield Health Ipswich in January this year (2021) during the second wave, this time moving in just two days over the weekend of 10 January 2021 with no disruption to patient care.

Several areas of Nuffield Health’s Ipswich Hospital were re-purposed during the second move to enable the treatment of patients. This included the recovery area of the theatre department, having learnt from the shared experiences during the first wave of the pandemic. Pathways around the hospital using different access routes were set up to maintain segregation of day unit patients and inpatients and keep patients safe.

The collaboration between the NHS and Nuffield Health was extensive throughout all departments, both clinical and non-clinical to undertake and support the appropriation and ongoing service. Nuffield Health were involved in the care of the patients from the catering and housekeeping teams to the nursing and theatre staff alongside their specialist NHS colleagues.

Speaking about the collaboration between the NHS and Nuffield Health, Dr Debo Ademokun, Divisional Clinical Director for Cancer and Diagnostics at ESNEFT, said:
“Through collaboration we were able to provide oncology treatment to our most vulnerable patients safely during the second wave of the pandemic. Our patients have found the experience really positive, even though the location of their treatment was changed at very short notice.

“Patients have told us they were so pleased that they were able to be cared for safely on a separate site during the pandemic, and to keep receiving the treatments they needed.”

Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital Director, Nick Jackson commented, “We have been delighted to partner with the local NHS during the pandemic on initiatives which really benefit patients. The staff on both sites were amazing in terms of addressing numerous logistical and operational issues in such a short space of time.

“The latest collaboration has been a great success which has been purely due to both team’s focus on a seamless transition for the patient to ensure that they have the best experiences and outcome”.

Read more about this story
MP James Cartlidge praises Ipswich Hospital in Parliament (May 2021)
NHS East Suffolk and North Essex website
East Anglian Daily Times
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and MP James Cartlidge praise the work of the independent sector in Parliament
CQC website (Hospitals, mental health and hospices - System collaboration)