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N&N working with private hospital to ensure cancer operations go ahead

PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 03 April 2020

Five people who tested positive for coronavirus have died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

Five people who tested positive for coronavirus have died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

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The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is working with a private hospital to ensure cancer operations can go ahead during the coronavirus outbreak - while dozens of outpatients are receiving virtual appointments.

Sam Higginson, the new chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUHSam Higginson, the new chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

The measures are all part of the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which as of April 2 has claimed 13 lives at the NNUH.

The hospital had its first positive COVID-19 case in mid-March, since then, the hospital has had 59 confirmed cases with dozens more awaiting test results.

Sam Higginson, chief executive of the NNUH, said the increase in the number of cases in under a month showed the growth of the disease.

Addressing the NNUH board in a public meeting on Wednesday, April 1, he said: “At our hospitals here at the NNUH and Cromer, staff have put in a huge effort into being as well-prepared as possible and are working extremely hard.”

In response to the threat COVID-19 poses, the NNUH has been divided into different zones to treat patients depending on whether or not they have the virus.

Those without the disease are being treated in green zones while yellow zoned areas are for patients with positive and suspected Covid-19 symptoms.

The hospital has also secured £9 million worth of funding to build a 10 bed isolation unit, and add 25 high-dependency beds to a new ward block which is currently under construction due to be completed before the end of May.

The hospital has introduced a no visitors policy and has transferred 70pc of all outpatient appointments to online or virtual appointments in a bid to reduce the numbers of people attending the hospital.

It is also working with Spire so some cancer and elective surgery can continue during the pandemic.

Mr Higginson said: “We are working hard to expand the amount of testing we can deliver and are currently using testing for patients, but we are developing plans to extend this to staff here and across the whole STP as soon as possible.

“We currently have sufficient oxygen for those patients here but we know we need further support from suppliers to increase our capacity.”


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