Overcoming the second wave of the pandemic together

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic brought fresh challenges to the staff on the frontline. Professor Nick Hart, clinical director of respiratory, sleep and critical care at Guy’s and St Thomas’, shares how his colleagues worked together to support each other and deliver the highest standard of care to the patients that needed them.

Professor Nick Hart’s story

It has been another challenging time for staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’. As cases surged during the second wave, staff from across Guy’s and St Thomas’ came together to treat coronavirus patients. The unwavering loyalty by our critical care team has been beyond phenomenal.

The extended critical care team supported by the teams from anaesthesia, Evelina London, the South Thames Retrieval Service (STRS) and Specialist Retrieval and Intensive Care Transfer Service (SPRINT) responded amazingly with professionalism, dedication and courage.

Professor Nick Hart, clinical director of respiratory, sleep and critical care at Guy’s and St Thomas’
Professor Nick Hart, clinical director of respiratory, sleep and critical care at Guy’s and St Thomas’

Guy’s and St Thomas’ redeployed hundreds of staff to help provide critical care for our sickest patients. Their commitment, motivation and support went above and beyond any expectations.

Everyone adapted to the roles that were needed of them. Surgeons led the vascular access teams, and tracheostomy insertion teams and dentists led the mouth care teams, with physiotherapists leading the turning teams. Their bright and friendly presence had a positive effect on the teams working at the bedside.

Our staff pushed through in the face of physical and mental exhaustion and with the constant threat of contracting the new variant. 

Psychologists have supported both the staff and patients during this hugely challenging time. Our wellbeing and hospitality team provided rest areas, hot food, drinks and access to skin care specialists to reduce the effect of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We have employed the most effective data driven approach to clinical care that I have ever seen in my working life within the NHS. This has led to reorganising the hospital, changing roles, and increasing acute care capacity whilst maintaining urgent surgery.

Nurses, therapists, pharmacists, doctors, technical teams, admin teams, procurement teams, cleaning teams and catering teams have been working side by side to make this possible.

Going forward, the amazing work of the Lane Fox Clinical team and the talented and committed Lane Fox Research Unit and Guy’s and St Thomas’ research teams will be vital as our services recover from the pandemic.

The ICU and the extended critical care team are exhausted, and rest, recovery and wellbeing need to be our priority.

The pandemic has placed significant pressures on our staff. We are doing all we can to help them through this most difficult of times. You can support this vital work by donating to the staff wellbeing appeal, so we can make sure they get the care and support they need.