By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
St George’s Hospital is past “the first peak” of coronavirus, as more than 840 patients have recovered and been discharged.
The new information was published in the Trust’s board papers, which showed there were just 72 inpatients with the virus this week, down from a peak of 304 on April 2.
The number of patients in the Tooting hospital’s intensive care unit has also reduced to 18, down from a peak of 83 on April 12.
Sadly 289 patients have now died at the hospital, having tested positive for coronavirus.
The papers showed that in the six weeks after the Trust’s first Covid-19 death on March 12, there were 242 deaths with Covid-19 in which 181 were men.
It also showed that a high proportion of patients that died with Covid-19 were diabetic (34 per cent) and/or hypertensive (48 per cent).
According to data from NHS England there have been no recorded Covid-19 deaths at the Trust in the last seven days.
However, this information should be treated with caution as reporting for the last five days may still change.
For example, a positive result for Covid-19 may occur days after confirmation of death, resulting in a lag.
St George’s forecasts that cases will continue on the current plateau for the next seven days, with demand for ITU beds further reducing.
However, the report noted that as social distancing measures are eased “we will continue to track the impact closely on forecast demand, seven-14 days in advance.”
Chief Executive Jacqueline Totterdell said: “I am pleased to say that the first Covid-19 peak has now passed – although we remain vigilant, and ready for future increases and spikes in activity.
“The slowdown in patients presenting with Covid-19 has allowed us to pause briefly, and assess the impact of recent weeks – on staff and patient services – and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
“I continue to be impressed by the way in which the organisation has responded. It has not been plain sailing, and we have learned a huge amount – however, our staff have looked after patients (and their relatives) with incredible kindness and compassion.
“They have also provided safe, high quality patient care – despite the pressures, and uncertainties that surround Covid-19, including how it affects different communities and vulnerable groups.”
She paid tribute to Trust staff and cleaners employed by Mitie who had sadly passed away in May, confirming that some cases were a result of Covid-19.
“This has been deeply distressing for immediate colleagues, and the wider organisation. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those colleagues,” she said.
She said staff had “coped admirably with the incredible pressures of recent weeks” but warned recovery and re-starting activity in new and different ways “is going to be even harder”.
She added: “We are working hard to meet with and listen to staff, both virtually and – where possible – in person.
“We have held four listening events for staff to discuss issues affecting Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic colleagues – and this has surfaced some deeply worrying behaviours, which I addressed in a message to staff last week. However, tackling the behaviours we’ve identified is a daily challenge, and one we mustn’t shy away from.”
In the Quality and Safety Committee Report it was noted that staff needed “additional support and care as they process the impact of operating in a heightened environment”, and that staff were being encouraged to take annual leave and look after their mental health and well-being.
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