Munira visited West Middlesex University Hospital to get an update on the current situation, and to thank staff for all their hard work, care, and dedication throughout the pandemic. 

Hospital Director Mark Titcomb and Medical Director Dr Iain Beveridge gave Munira a tour of the hospital, a briefing on the current numbers of Covid patients, and explained their plans for post pandemic service recovery.

Following the visit Munira said:

“It was humbling to hear directly from staff about their experiences through the height of the pandemic. Doctors, nurses, hospital porters, catering staff, volunteers and many other medical professionals worked through periods of unprecedented demand to keep healthcare services available to all.

“I was pleased to see the amount of investment that has been put into staff welfare, including improved staff changing facilities and other measures to support staff. The people who work in the NHS are its most valuable asset and the Government must recognise their sacrifices over the past 18 months and reward them properly.”   

During the tour, Clinical Sister Juan Xu explained how the Acute Medical Unit model enables patients to see multiple specialists in one place, allowing more people to be treated more quickly. The unit was vital during the two peaks of Covid admissions and kept acute services for non-Covid patients functioning.

Deputy Director of Nursing, Cathy Hill, explained the herculean task of expanding the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from 9 beds to 31 by April 2020, with every bed being filled with a Covid patient as soon as it became available. Munira was shown examples of operating theatres which were transformed into intensive care beds and are now designed for rapid switchover if additional ICU beds are required quickly in the future.

In paediatrics, Munira heard how teenagers with mental health difficulties could not access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) specialist beds and needed to stay on the general paediatric ward. Young people experiencing mental health crises need specialist care and it is vital for them, and for other users of paediatric services, that appropriate CAMHS beds are found for them.  The Government must tackle the life-threatening delays afflicting CAMHS.