PPUs pull their weight in a crisis

Philip Housden

Last month, Philip Housden reported an upbeat growth message for private patient units. Well, how quickly things can change. Here’s his round-up of the PPUs’ contribution to coping with the pandemic.

In London, North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, based on the Central Middlesex, Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals, was one of the first to receive high numbers of coronavirus patients. 

It transitioned the PPU – trust plus St Marks Private Healthcare – and allowed its staff and single ensuite rooms to be used for NHS patients. 

Business development head David Osborne said: ‘The unit was initially used by patients awaiting the results of Covid-19 tests prior to being transferred to the appropriate hospital ward. 

‘However, the unit itself quickly became, and currently remains, a Covid-19 positive ward. The actions taken clearly demonstrate how the PPU has quickly and effectively responded to meet the needs of patients, the NHS and the local community.’

The PPU at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, Middlesex

At Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, the private care ward became the trust’s respiratory ward for Covid-19-positive patients, primarily due to the single-room layout. PPU staff have worked there, supported by the wider trust. 

Private patients – who fell into one of six protected pathways, including cancer, spinal cord injuries, bone infections and urgent cases – were admitted onto NHS wards, but there were no elective surgery admissions outside the protected pathways. 

Head of private care Eileen Scrase said: ‘In this time of uncertainty, as we all grapple with the greatest challenge of a generation, I am deeply humbled and very proud of all of the staff for the work they are doing.’

Cancer treatments

The Royal Marsden was ensuring cancer treatment continued while managing patients diagnosed with Covid-19.