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100 plus cancer patients treated thanks to NHS partnership with private hospital

Posted: 7May 2020

Picture of the logos of Spire healthcare and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS trust

More than 100 cancer patients needing urgent surgery have been treated, thanks to great partnership working by West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) and Spire Bushey Hospital.

More than 100 cancer patients needing urgent surgery have been treated, thanks to great partnership working by West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) and Spire Bushey Hospital.

Surgery at Watford General and St Albans City hospitals has been scaled down dramatically as part of the trust’s response to COVID-19.

But staff were keen to ensure that patients awaiting potentially life-saving surgery were not put at risk by having their procedures delayed and so worked with Spire Bushey Hospital to identify which patients were the highest clinical priority.

The first of these patients to have surgery at Spire Bushey Hospital were treated within just a few days of NHS England’s mandate on March 21 for the private sector to work with the NHS. To date over 130 NHS time-critical patients from the trust’s waiting list have been treated at Spire Bushey Hospital.

This partnership and the process of getting urgent patients to have their surgery has been shared across the UK for other trusts working with independent sector hospitals.

One patient who was transferred to Spire Bushey Hospital was Christine Watson from Hemel Hempstead who had previously had a kidney removed due to cancer. However her remaining kidney had a stone and a dangerous cyst and so she needed further surgery to remove the stone and carry out a test on the cyst. Thanks to the collaboration between the trust and Spire Bushey Hospital, the kidney stone was removed and she is now recovering whilst waiting for results on the cyst. She said "I was really relieved I could continue with my procedure and the team here are amazing."

Jeremy Livingstone, an upper gastrointestinal surgeon at WHHT and Spire Bushey Hospital, is the clinical lead for this partnership. He said: "We’ve always had a good relationship with Spire Bushey Hospital but this has been transformed to a whole new level over the last few weeks. Whilst there are fundamental difference between the funding and running of the NHS and private healthcare – we have the same focus: great patient care.

"This shared goal has been at the heart of our plans and has helped us work at pace to deliver a remarkable result for our patients.

"We understand how stressful it is to be waiting for surgery and we are really pleased that we have been able to reduce this anxiety through our collaboration with Spire Bushey Hospital."

Lisa Trybus, Hospital Director at Spire Bushey Hospital, said: "I am so proud of the excellent relationship we have with West Herts which meant that we were quickly able to start offering urgent surgery to patients. Patients have been so grateful for the seamless care they have received despite the change in location and the fact that have been able to receive time-critical surgery whilst staying local."

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  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 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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