Our hospital staff have stood on the front line to care for the sickest and most vulnerable patients, fighting daily against the increasing number of cases.
Dr. Mike More is President of the Cambridge Universities Hospital Trust, which is in charge of Addenbrooke. He spoke to Cambridgeshire Live about how the hospital is doing and about their preparations as the number of cases continues to increase.
Ensuring the safety of front line staff
One point that has been raised repeatedly is the access of health professionals to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves, as concerns are growing over stock levels.
Dr. More said, “We have leading global infectious disease experts who operate here at Addenbrooke’s, and they, in collaboration with senior medical officials, ensure that we have a continuous supply of PPE as best as possible. as we can. , within the framework of national provisions.
“We are working to make sure our needs are understood. Supplies are tight, but no different from the rest of the national situation. “
He went on to say that they were working with senior infectious disease experts “to make sure our safety guidelines are clear and understood by all members of our clinical teams.”
The hospital is also working in partnership with the University of Cambridge, which explained Dr. More: “By providing supplies from their own labs and other areas where they need similar equipment, and they we also provide relief supplies, which is really helpful. ”
Maintain staff levels
But it’s not just access to equipment, there have to be staff to use it. While hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to volunteer to help and retired NHS staff have returned to the front lines, there are still many NHS staff who are on sick leave as they present symptoms of COVID-19.
“We are currently down about 10% of our staff due to self-isolation or illness,” said Dr. More, “but we have worked very hard with our staff to support them with things like daycare and accommodation on site or elsewhere in the city, so thank you to the organizations that have contributed to this.
“We have worked hard on the psychological support of the staff because it is very difficult for them.
“We have recruited many new bank employees, employees who can support us. We are following a very large training program for the staff who are already in the hospital so that they are able to do some of the activity which, in their normal course of work, they would not have to do.
“So more training in terms of breathing techniques for nurses who are not used to these conditions.
“We are using the time when we have no patients to fill all of our teams at the moment. “
There have also been “very significant changes in rotation levels”, as some staff who usually work in other areas are retrained using the time freed up by canceling appointments and unscheduled procedures. urgent. This is how they can help on the front line of the pandemic fight alongside intensive care staff.
“When it comes to intensive care, the work patterns are designed for the current situation,” said Dr. More, “and they work very intensively.
“We are really deeply in debt. “
The Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Fund is in urgent need of your help for vital support – as we seek to raise £ 300,000.
As the need to help vulnerable people increases in the region, a special fund created by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) has been inundated with requests for funding from community groups.
The number of people contracting the virus is increasing every day in Cambridgeshire, and the foreclosure affects residents’ ability to work and take care of their families.
Cambridge News and CambridgeshireLive are media partners for the call and are asking all of their readers to give what they can.
We have already passed the £ 184,000 mark, but we still have a long way to go.
Thanks to everyone who donated, your support is invaluable.
Please donate what you can to the fund by visiting the donation page.
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Doing everything to “extend and increase the pace of testing”
One of the biggest announcements repeated in daily government briefings was the desire to offer more tests – especially for front-line NHS workers, who could return to work if they tested negative.
So what happens with the tests at Addenbrooke’s?
Dr. More explained: “Our tests at the moment are mainly patient-oriented, as this is clearly important.
“We are working very hard, again, to expand our testing capacity, and again the national debate is clear on this.
“There are certain constraints, like chemical reagents, and unless they are increased, your ability to pass the test is limited.
“We are working with the University to expand point-of-care testing, and we are also working well with the University to try to expand the laboratories in which we can procure tests, and not make ourselves vulnerable to availability particular forms of chemical reagents that national tests require.
“We are doing everything we can to expand and accelerate the pace of testing at this time, although the tests are patient-oriented. “
A responsibility to be ready for those in need of intensive care
Being a state-of-the-art hospital and one of the largest in the county, Addenbrooke’s is currently caring for its fair share of coronavirus patients.
The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK increased to 33,718, an increase of more than 4,000 cases in 24 hours.
“The number of patients shows a steady increase every day,” said Dr. more, “but not the sharp increase in the number of patients this week last week that we model as likely.
“This is good in the sense that we do not see the same scale of increase as that which we had forecast in our model last week last week.
“There are currently about 70 odd patients with COVID-19 in the hospital, and a number of them are in intensive care. “
However, patients who have successfully recovered from the coronavirus have been sent home from Addenbrooke’s.
Dr More said, “We have sent patients safely home, many patients return home after they have recovered.”
“We are seeing a turnover of patients, some entering and some returning home as they recover. “
Unfortunately, three patients died in Addenbrooke’s, all with underlying health conditions and “older” age.
Dr. More said: “We continue to monitor the cases very closely, there are younger patients, but those who have died are all older patients.
“At the moment, our main task has been to make sure that we have enough capacity in the hospital for the likely increase in the number of patients who will need intensive care.
“There will be many patients and people suffering from it in the community, our responsibility is to make sure that we are as free as possible when patients need serious assistance. “
Getting ready for the pic
The need to flatten the curve has been repeatedly raised in order to reduce the maximum number of cases that the NHS will have to handle at any one time, although predictions may be difficult given the new nature of the virus.
Addenbrooke’s has worked hard over the past six weeks to prepare for the impending peak.
“We have a model in place that predicts numbers,” said Dr. More, “but this model is not as good as what is going on in the rest of the world because it is a new virus, and each virus is different.
“However, we are seeing that the increase in the number of people requiring hospitalization per day is less than we expected. In this sense, our capacity is good.
“We expect the peak, for now, to be in April. But again, this is a new disease and it’s not like we have it before. “
Deeply grateful for the support
Last week, people across the country stepped out of their front doors, into the gardens, and leaned out their windows to applaud the vital work being done by NHS staff as the country faces one of the biggest crises since the world wars.
Dr. More said, “We are overwhelmed and very grateful for the support of people across the country, and here in Cambridge, and that means a lot to my colleagues, so thanks for them.
“We are overwhelmed by the expressions of business and the University of offers of practical help, in terms of providing equipment or support, or food for our staff, and this is greatly appreciated.
“I know that our independent charity has been inundated with donations, we are very grateful. We will use it for our best purposes to support staff and patients.
“I think the bottom line is that every body is doing its part to keep it safe, adhere to directives and stay at home with only the essentials to do outside and keep your distance from others.
“These are essential to ensure that our hospital is not overwhelmed by too many people to care for.
“We all play a role in this, we help each other and we help them. “