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The Northwick Revisited

It was early evening on Wednesday 4th March when a man arrived at Northwick Park Hospital in west London. He was the very first patient in the UK to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19. From that moment on, everything changed.

Here at My Healthcare Recruit we thought we’d take some time to reflect on what happened and take another look at the Northwick to see what the journey has been like since that now infamous A&E admission in March.

At the time of writing this newsletter the UK death rate is well over 40,000 people and although that figure has slowed significantly, we must remember that each one of those people are more than a number. They’re someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, friend or colleague and the lasting legacy will be significant on those that have been impacted in some way … our thoughts are with them.

The Northwick had been involved with Covid-19 before that point as they were handling tests at the nearby Heathrow Airport, so they were no stranger to the virus. But between March and August that hospital and it’s 5,800 staff saw an unprecedented filling up of wards with Covid-19 cases, it saw Intensive Care being put under immense pressure and it was the first hospital in the country to officially declare a critical incident.

By the end of August a total of 584 were dead in that one single hospital alone.

Being an infectious disease team, Northwick Park knew that they had to act quickly, especially as wards were being filled every three days. Large sections of the hospital were converted into an expanded Intensive Care unit. PPE was brought in for staff and many of those staff members were way outside of their comfort zones.

Visitors weren’t able to see loved ones with the best offer being a video call for family members. All of this was with the knowledge that resources were running out. Apparently staff felt like it was a matter of days rather than weeks or months before the problem imploded.

But the truth is from that point on the Northwick, the health service in general and the country as a whole, turned a corner and slowly started to cope. The number of cases began to drop as did the number of deaths and the Northwick started to return to a degree of normality.

Thankfully August saw a hugely reduced rate of Covid-19 admissions and today the hospital are able to diagnose quickly and get patients treated in the most effective places. Sections of the hospital are currently empty just in case a second wave occurs and today the hospital feel as ready as they’ll ever be if Covid-19 strikes again … let’s hope it doesn’t happen in quite the same way.