Hospital waiting rooms could become thing of the past and appointments by phone will continue even after Covid-19 crisis is over says professor running London’s Nightingale hospital
- Professor Charles Knight said the NHS should get rid of waiting rooms post-virus
- The Nightingale boss also said that non-coronavirus patients should be treated
- He thinks non-coronavirus patients should be ‘decanted’ to Nightingale hospital
- He wants the NHS to keep phone appointments and have virus-free hospitals
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The NHS could do away with hospital waiting rooms and continue with phone appointments after the coronavirus crisis said a professor at London Nightingale hospital.
Professor Charles Knight said the NHS needs to look at doing away with waiting rooms and moving non-coronavirus patients to Nightingale in a Royal Society of Medicine webinar.
Speaking about the move to telephone and video appointments he said: ‘I think that has to and will be a prolonged and probably permanent feature of hospitals going forward.
‘The hospital outpatient waiting room is probably a thing of the past and we shouldn’t have it back.’
He also said that non-coronavirus patients should be ‘decanted’ to Nightingale hospital so that is it eventually used only for non-coronavirus patients.
London Nightingale hospital’s Professor Charles Knight said the NHS should look at doing away with waiting rooms and keeping phone consultations after the coronavirus crisis
He also said that hospitals need to work to become coronavirus- free so that they can start to treat other patients
Nightingale hospital was built to accommodate 7,500 intensive care beds but only 799 of these are full.
These comments came as he was discussing the effect coronavirus has had on treating other patients.
Professor Knight recognised the importance of starting to treat other patients again which the NHS has struggled to do because intensive care units are full and because people are not going to the doctors for non-coronavirus issues.
He said: ‘There’s increasing evidence that people are not taking the notice they usually would have of chest pain, and then presenting very late with much bigger myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) or even an increased risk of dying at home, cardiac arrest.
‘That has to stop.’
He used St Bartholomew’s hospital in London as an example as they created a coronavirus-free environment for heart patients during the crisis.
So far St Bartholomew’s have performed heart surgery, including bypass, aortic dissection and valve replacements, on 100 patients.
Professor Knight praised the NHS for its handling of the crisis and its rapid building of Nightingale Hospital.
‘I don’t think there’s many private-sector companies that could have, or indeed have, responded to the pressures of Covid in the way we [the NHS] did. I don’t think Ocado has quite got its delivery sorted out as quickly as we sorted out the Nightingale,’ he said.
It was this ability to adjust and react so fast that Professor Knight wants to see with treating other types of patients.
Professor Knight wants the NHS to use the same flexibility and ability to respond to fast for non-coronavirus patients-
‘We can take pride in what’s been achieved in terms of the flexibility of the response across the whole country. And also, to learn from that to be more agile in the future and not go back to quite the sort of level of bureaucracy that we used to deal with,’ he said.
The professor also said that he was glad the hospital was never needed at the scale it was built for.
He said that even with the right amount of beds there would not have been enough staff to support patients.
‘When we first came here, and we looked at these vast halls and we saw the beginnings of the bed bays being rolled out – it was a profoundly moving, a really awe-inspiring and horrific moment, because if you imagined all those beds being full of patients – it was like the apocalypse,’ he said.
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