Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, has welcomed the opportunity to support patients at its Taunton Hospital with elective hospital care as part of the independent sector-wide contract extension with the NHS.
Mark Enticknap, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Taunton Hospital, explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. We are thankful to our hospital team for their resilience over this uncertain period. We are now looking forward to welcoming our local community into our Hospital, which we have worked hard to ensure is a safe and healthy environment to be in, our staff and patient safety are of the most importance to us.
“The agreement between the independent sector and the NHS allows our hospital to more access to our range of hospital services including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, general surgery, dermatology, gynaecology and urology to people with health insurance or who are paying themselves, as we did before the pandemic. We are also continuing to care for NHS patients, working closely with the fantastic teams at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust to reduce waiting times and free up capacity within the NHS.
“Our experienced infection prevention team are ensuring that everyone that comes into our hospital receives high quality care in a safe environment. For example, we are taking people’s temperatures upon arrival, wearing PPE, and implementing new zones to help maintain social distancing. We are also offering remote consultations for patients and our end-to-end connected services make us stand out in our care for people of all ages, from fitness and wellbeing to treatment and recovery.”
A virtual tour of the social distancing measures and safety procedures Nuffield Health’s hospitals have implemented is available online at https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/welcome
Meanwhile, in a recent nationwide survey of 3,217 Nuffield Health patients, 73% indicated they will reschedule their appointment within a month of being able to do so. Twenty per cent indicated they will delay their rebooking for one to six months, primarily due to COVID-19 concerns or due to timing issues, holiday plans or work and family commitments. Only 2% stated they would not rebook.
Steve Gray, Chief Executive at Nuffield Health, added: “As the UK’s largest healthcare charity, we welcome this agreement with the NHS and we are committed to supporting patients, both NHS and those with health insurance or patients who choose to pay for themselves, who have had to wait for hospital care because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The revised agreement with the NHS expands the flexibility and level of care independent sector providers can offer people with conditions including cancer, orthopaedics, eye care and diabetes which was previously assessed as ‘non-urgent’ during the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. By utilising available capacity within the independent sector, NHS and privately-funded patients can get the diagnosis and treatment they need faster, reducing waiting times and relieving the pressure on our fantastic NHS.
“So far, over 90,000 NHS patients have benefitted from the care provided at our 31 hospitals across the UK during the pandemic. This includes COVID-19 positive patients, those needing intensive care or oxygen support, those undergoing cancer treatment (shielding vulnerable patients from COVID-19), and those needing urgent surgery. We remain committed to providing additional capacity to NHS trusts and NHS patients as the pandemic continues to evolve.”