Evelina London's care during the pandemic featured on BBC news

Posted on Monday 17th May 2021
Cruz and his mum with a nurse and Victoria Derbyshire

Cruz, 7, with his mum, Debbie, being interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire.

BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire visited our hospital on Thursday 13 May, to highlight how we continued to care for unwell children and young people during the pandemic, whilst also supporting Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals to care for adults with COVID-19.

Ogechi Anodu, assistant general manager at Evelina London explained live on air how our hospital and community services responded quickly as the first lockdown approached: “A lot was done at the beginning of the pandemic to change things straight away so care could continue for our children and young people. This included setting up virtual appointments almost overnight, and reviewing our waiting lists so we could identify urgent patients which must be seen.

“As the restrictions ease again we are definitely on the road to recovery with our waiting lists. We continue to go through each waiting list to make sure that patients that need urgent appointments are seen straight away. It’s important if you do have an appointment coming up that you attend, because our face-to-face appointments are very precious.”

Dr Sara Hanna, Evelina London’s Medical Director, was also interviewed and said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve had to balance carrying on with what we absolutely have to do in terms of caring for children who are unwell and have come to our emergency department, as well as children with ongoing medical problems. We have done this whilst also supporting our colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust to look after sick adults, setting up a large adult intensive care unit in our children’s hospital. A really great amount of balance had to be brought to the situation, and with the challenge this brought forward, our staff were incredible.”

Evelina London is the only children’s hospital in London on the same site as an adult hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, so we played a unique role during the pandemic. Over 50 adults were cared for on our Sky ward during the second wave by our paediatric intensive care team, clinicians who usually care for very unwell children and babies, as well as staff from across our specialist services who took on very different roles. This intensive care unit was run in a secure environment so the rest of the care in the children’s hospital could continue.

Cruz, age 7, continued dialysis treatment on our Beach ward throughout the pandemic and Cruz’s mum, Debbie, spoke to Victoria Derbyshire about their experience: “It was scary in the beginning especially for Cruz knowing that he’s vulnerable if he catches any infection, whether it’s COVID-19 or not. So we have to be especially careful. We come for dialysis four days a week so Cruz uses the school in the hospital which is in touch with his main school which he goes to two days a week.”