Planning for success

All of us working in healthcare are acutely aware of the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The daily reports of a growing death toll and the ratcheting up of confirmed cases make for grim reading – and we all want to see positives where we can.

Those positives are there to be found – the phenomenal response to the government’s call for volunteers to help the NHS is the most obvious example. There is no shortage of goodwill from people across the country and, like everyone else, I salute the dedication and courage of our frontline healthcare workers.

Every healthcare worker will tell you that the one thing of paramount importance in every situation is patient safety – and that has never been more applicable than it is today.

The Herculean efforts to provide treatment and facilities for Covid19 patients are truly breath-taking.

We all understand that any non-urgent hospital treatments should be put on hold for the time being in order to relieve as much pressure on the NHS.

There is, however, growing concern from some cancer patients that they are being left behind and their treatments jeopardised. While I don’t think that this is entirely true, we are seeing daily news reports from patients deeply worried about the prospect of delays to their treatment.

Difficult decisions have to be made regarding the prioritising of patients in a crisis but I genuinely believe that the plight of cancer patients can be eased. It was encouraging to see the government urging greater collaboration between the public and independent sector and a lot can be achieved by embracing this approach.

In many respects, it already happens. Our Rutherford Centres already treat NHS patients for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In Wales, we also treat adult NHS patients with proton beam therapy.

No effort can be spared in helping to minimise or prevent delays. Now that we are engulfed by an unprecedented national crisis, the benefits of collaboration across the NHS and independent sector are clear, and what we all need to do now is streamline arrangements and decision-making for the benefit of patients.

I am immensely proud of the Rutherford staff who remain resolute in providing the best possible care for patients who come first at every turn. The majority of our consultants’ practice in both NHS hospitals and in our clinics across the UK. Our nurses are mainly from NHS backgrounds and many of our staff have experience in the NHS system. Everyone has an unshakeable commitment to healthcare.

Alongside other independent healthcare providers, we have offered our services to the UK and Welsh governments. We are here to help and if we all plan for success and implement that plan successfully, it will be to the benefit of the people who matter most – our patients.

By Mike Moran, chief executive officer, Rutherford Health.