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Thousands of NHS patients to be treated at Norwich private hospital in landmark agreement

PUBLISHED: 11:50 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 20 April 2020

The Spire Hospital Norwich at Colney. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Spire Hospital Norwich at Colney. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Five hundred NHS patients have been treated at a Norwich private hospital under a landmark agreement signed to ease pressure during the pandemic.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUHNorfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) and Spire Healthcare’s Norwich hospital have joined forces to allow the patients to carry on treatment throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the outbreak, Spire Norwich did not provide a chemotherapy service, but since the end of March has worked with staff at the NNUH, which has transferred its entire chemotherapy service to Spire. Roughly 300 people use the service each week.

Alongside cancer, Spire Norwich will care for NHS patients who need cardiological treatment and spinal surgery, and a midwifery clinic is planned to begin in the next few weeks.

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Since the partnership began three weeks ago, Spire Norwich has seen 500 NHS patients and is carrying out 35 to 40 urgent operations per week.

Sam Higginson, chief executive at the NNUH, said: “Our mission is to care for our patients, whether they have Covid-19 or other urgent care needs which are unrelated to the pandemic. The support we have received from Spire has been tremendous and we are delighted to be working in partnership to benefit the local community at this difficult time.”

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The partnership was made possible under a national agreement, which Spire, alongside the wider independent health sector, has signed to make its staff, equipment and facilities available to the NHS to help alleviate the pressure caused by Covid-19.

Nayab Haider, hospital director at Spire Healthcare, said: “We are very proud to be supporting the NHS during the worst public health crisis seen in decades. Even though tackling the coronavirus is the number one priority, it is so important that people with other urgent health conditions continue to access the treatment they require.

“We are very pleased that we’re able to play our part in meeting this need.”

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Linda Page, a former nurse who retired from her role as senior surgical matron at the NNUH two years ago, has agreed to return to nursing at Spire Norwich, after being approached by director of clinical services Louise Sokalsky.

Ms Page said: “When the Covid-19 outbreak began, I knew I had to return to work and lend my skills in the national effort against this disease. I was daunted at coming back to work, but everyone at Spire Norwich has gone out of their way to welcome me and others who have joined recently. I know that all the cancer patients who come here in the next few weeks will benefit from the same positive spirit that I have encountered, which will make their stay in hospital that bit easier.”

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