7 May 2020

Senior clinicians at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAngliaFT) have praised the way the trusts have worked together as “a great example of collaboration within the NHS.” 

Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge and North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust – which manages Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Peterborough City Hospital – have seen a huge surge in demand for intensive care in recent weeks as patients became ill with Covid-19. 

As a specialist heart and lung hospital with a large critical care unit and ECMO service, Royal Papworth Hospital quickly established a referral pathway for accepting the most seriously ill patients and commissioned three ambulances to transfer them safely.  

Clinicians from both trusts have taken part in daily calls to discuss patients hospitalised with Covid-19 and agree which patients would benefit from transfer. Since 29 March 2020, Royal Papworth has received 23 patients from Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough City Hospitals, with NWAngliaFT staff preparing the patients for transfer and travelling with them in the ambulance. 

The two trusts have also shared staff members during the outbreak, with five members of staff from the critical care department at Hinchingbrooke Hospital carrying out shifts at Royal Papworth Hospital and a consultant who usually splits his time between both hospitals now working full-time at Hinchingbrooke. The Pharmacy team at Peterborough City Hospital has been supporting Royal Papworth by preparing injectable medicines for COVID-19 patients, to save critical care nurses’ time.

It has been a great example of collaboration within the NHS

Dr Alain Vuylsteke, Clinical Director at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “From the start of the outbreak, clinicians at both trusts have been working together with one goal – to provide the best possible care for patients with Covid-19. We’ve shared knowledge, staff and equipment to make sure that patients get the treatment they need in the right place. It has been a great example of collaboration within the NHS.”  

Dr Kanchan Rege, Medical Director for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Staff at Hinchingbrooke and Royal Papworth always have had a good working relationship, but the challenges that we have been faced with during the Covid-19 outbreak has really pushed staff to think outside of the box. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been involved with this partnership. This way of working has enabled us to provide additional resources, expertise and needs for our patients during those pressured time, which means that we can continue to provide the great care that is required.”