Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) was the first designated cancer surgical hub to open in the South East of England back in April. With regionally and nationally recognised expertise in treating patients with high-risk cancers (head and neck, skin and breast) it was chosen as a hub to receive referrals from hospitals across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The hub model ensures NHS hospitals continue to deliver as much cancer treatment as possible, with some patients remaining under the care of their doctor or nurse specialist at the trust where they are currently being cared for, with surgery carried out at QVH.
In the last nine weeks, QVH operated more than 450 cancer patients as well as providing 60 slots a week in a ‘see and treat’ skin cancer clinic. The usual focus of breast surgery at QVH is post cancer reconstruction but in recent weeks, surgeons have carried out over 100 breast oncology surgeries (excisions and mastectomies) for women referred from other Kent and Sussex trusts.
It is important that patients with high-risk cancers continue to receive appropriate and timely treatment where possible despite the pandemic, and QVH has changed some of the ways that it works to minimise the risk of COVID-19 at its site. This work has been vital in protecting patients and staff from the virus. With cancer patients needing to self-isolate prior to surgery significant additional infection prevention control measures have been put in place to create a hospital environment as safe as possible.
In addition, QVH has been working closely with The McIndoe Centre, the private hospital which shares its grounds in East Grinstead. The McIndoe Centre, which is part of Horder Healthcare, has provided capacity for urgent treatment of patients with injuries to the eye, hand or face. This has included a theatre available 24 hours a day to ensure limb-threatening injuries can be treated immediately. Minor procedures have taken place in the treatment rooms on an outpatient basis. This arrangement has enabled patients with injuries often linked to DIY or animal bites to continue to receive appropriate and timely treatment from QVH’s medical and anaesthetic teams, supported by theatre, ward and outpatient teams which comprise The McIndoe Centre and QVH staff working together. To date this partnership working has seen over 350 theatre admissions, over 270 minor operations and over 350 trauma outpatient follow-ups.
Rod Plethero lives 40 miles away from QVH and was referred for surgery to remove cancer in his jaw. He said: “Cancer is not a disease that waits for you and having the surgery meant everything. I couldn’t speak more highly of the staff here – it’s a profound thanks to them all. Although you’re having major surgery for cancer you feel looked after and that’s a wonderful feeling.”
Steve Jenkin, Chief Executive of Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “Ensuring our patients continue to receive the high level of care they need and deserve, despite the pandemic, has driven us to rapidly mobilise and make use of the national contract to work with independent sector providers. Working with The McIndoe Centre has meant trauma patients can still come to our site in East Grinstead and be treated by our clinical team but in a different building, with additional measures in place to keep our patients and our staff safe. Such an arrangement is testament to the behind the scenes hard work of the QVH and The McIndoe Centre teams and is a positive example of how the NHS and private sector can work together.”
Watch a short film explaining more about how we are supporting patients with cancer and the special measures we have put in place:
For more information click here or contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.