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Rising to the challenge of COVID-19

Posted: 18 March 2020

Picture of three sites at West Hertfordshire Hosptials NHS Trust

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is getting ready for a rise in COVID-19 cases. Staff across the trust have pulled together to make a number of changes to help manage an increase in actual or suspected cases of COVID-19.

Chief executive Christine Allen said: “As the Chief Medical Officer has stated, NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.

“Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has now been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas.

“Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, and we will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.”

Ms Allen added: “Teams across the trust are doing a remarkable job and I want to say a special thank you to staff who are providing front line care whilst wearing full protective equipment. This is hard work and we are all very, very grateful to them and those who support them.

“We have planned and implemented a range of measures to put us on the front foot for dealing with COVID-19. This trust has often been praised for the strength of its emergency planning. The speed and calmness with which we have made these changes is testament to colleagues who work so hard all year round to ensure that we are always ready for the unexpected.

“We acknowledge that patients will wait longer or travel further for appointments and we regret that visits to inpatients may be limited or stopped altogether but we are sure that everyone understands that patient safety remains our number one priority.”


For further information

The trust’s preparations include:

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email:  For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager..
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
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