A landmark partnership between Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and BOC has been announced today, which will develop specialist units for complex respiratory patients who require a ventilator to breathe. The first centre is being built in the grounds of East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Surrey.
This centre will operate as a satellite unit, run in partnership between REMEO® Healthcare Limited (a subsidiary of BOC) and the internationally recognised Lane Fox Respiratory Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital. It will enable more NHS patients to access such world-leading clinical expertise in treating chronic respiratory failure and in ‘weaning’ patients who are dependent on invasive mechanical ventilation following major critical illness, enabling them to eventually return home.
The new centre will bring multiple benefits. Most importantly, it will improve outcomes for complex respiratory patients by providing multi-disciplinary, specialist care closer to home in an environment designed to be relaxing and homely, and with extended visiting hours. It will also offer training programmes for carers to learn what they can do to support patients receiving invasive tracheostomy ventilation as well as non-invasive home ventilation. Additionally, by helping these patients to return home, it will make intensive care beds available for other acutely ill people.
Dr Nicholas Hart, Director of the Lane Fox Respiratory Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust says: “We are delighted to be entering into this innovative partnership with REMEO, which will directly benefit complex respiratory patients and their families by providing care closer to home in a specifically-designed environment. It’s very rewarding to see patients returning home after a long stay in intensive care, and these centres will help many more patients achieve this milestone.”
Jana Schulte, Business Manager, REMEO adds: “The centre will provide care for intensive care patients with conditions such as neuromuscular disease who need to be on a ventilator but who don’t need a full ICU as support. This partnership tackles the gap in the current healthcare system between meeting the needs of these patients and aiding their transition from hospital to home.”
The Lane Fox unit at St Thomas’ Hospital is an international leader in treating chronic respiratory failure, and supports more than 1,200 people who use either invasive tracheostomy or a non-invasive mask mechanical ventilator overnight. The unit’s clinical success in weaning patients from invasive to non-invasive ventilation has led to an increase in referrals from surrounding intensive care units and therefore a need to increase capacity to manage these complex patients. This has driven the collaboration between REMEO and Guy’s and St Thomas’, which will increase patients’ access to specialist respiratory services at centres closer to their homes.
Building work on the purpose-built facility in the grounds of East Surrey Hospital has begun with completion scheduled for 2014. The centre is being built by BOC with REMEO providing the nursing staff to the unit. REMEO was selected after a competitive tender in 2012 with the long term intention to establish more centres around the UK.
The design of the new unit has been shaped by patients and their families in consultation with hospital staff and architect Murphy Philipps. The brief included how best to deliver a positive rehabilitation environment. Suggestions about ward layout, overall design, ability to access the garden areas, and private areas for families to meet together have all been incorporated into the final design.
Staff recruitment will start in the spring of 2014 with Guy’s and St Thomas’ advising on appointment of REMEO staff.
The Department of Health first identified the need for specialised weaning and ventilation centres some years ago, and this venture is in line with NHS England’s plans to develop Specialist Respiratory Services. This is the first Public Private Partnership to establish such a service, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ and REMEO are planning further centres in other parts of the UK in due course.
Image: Artistic impression of the new purpose-built specialist centre for ventilator-dependent patients being built in Redhill by BOC with REMEO providing the nursing staff