In March 2020, Nuffield Health’s Plymouth Hospital was one of 31 hospitals across the UK made available to local NHS trusts across the UK by Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity. They supported University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and nearby Derriford NHS Hospital by hosting its oncology department and treating NHS patients undergoing cancer treatment. This freed up capacity for the NHS Trust to care for the forecasted influx of patients showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

The Trust’s oncology department moved into Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital on 6 April 2020 after an intensive, fast-paced relocation project. This saw Nuffield Hospital set-up with the essential medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, IT network capabilities and clinical governance collaboration implemented to run the NHS oncology department safely and effectively for cancer patients.

Before the move took place, Nuffield Health’s staff, both clinical and non-clinical, received essential oncology training within a week to ensure all staff were upskilled appropriately. The training was successfully achieved through a unique collaboration between Nuffield Health, UHP, Mustard Tree Macmillan Centre and St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

Since a revised contract was agreed with the NHS nationally in August 2020, Plymouth Hospital has been supporting the NHS Trust with orthopaedics surgery for NHS patients and private patients.

Sian Dennison, Head of Nursing Cancer and End of Life, and Sarah Flavell, Cluster Manager Oncology and Haematology, from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said:

“In this time of great challenge, anxiety and stress to patients and staff, it’s with great pride we have watched teams of staff come together and continue to deliver the best care and service to our patients.”

“We’ve watched them smile, laugh and work incredibly hard to set this service up quickly and efficiently. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen from transport teams, porters and cleaners, to clinical and non-clinical teams across all providers.”

Patricia Warwick, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, said:

“The situation we are experiencing right now in healthcare worldwide is extraordinary. These are untrodden paths and it’s fantastic the independent sector and the NHS can come together in the interest of patients and public health. ”

"Our collaboration with the NHS has been positive with 20,000 NHS patients seen so far. This is an incredible achievement and throughout the pandemic we’ve done all we can to support our local NHS trust and played our part in ensuring they are best placed to support Covid-19 patients. Our support to them ranges from sharing our employees through to repurposing large sections of our hospital to house NHS oncology and minor injury services. We are now supporting our local NHS Trust with their orthopaedic patients."

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