It has been a challenging start to 2021 but we are now seeing the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Royal Free London (RFL) decrease.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we made temporary changes to some of our services. In December, we made the difficult decision to temporarily pause some non-urgent planned procedures/operations and out-patient services.
Our transplant services have restarted, and we hope to restart other services as soon as it is safe to do so. We are working with partners across north central London (NCL) on this.
In September 2020, we temporarily closed our children and young people's emergency department and inpatient services at the Royal Free Hospital. These services have been provided at the Whittington Hospital.
Planning has started for returning these services to the Royal Free Hospital from April. There are agreed criteria relating to the progression of the pandemic, and until these are met, the transition will not be completed.
You can read more below. We will keep you updated on the reopening date.
I would like to take this opportunity once again to recognise the incredible hard work of all of our staff during the most difficult times, and to thank you all for your ongoing support.
Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Temporary changes to children and young people's services - update
Temporary changes were made to children and young people’s services across NCL during the autumn/winter of 2020/21 as part of the sector’s response to the pandemic.
This meant the Royal Free Hospital’s children’s and young people’s emergency and inpatient services were temporarily closed. These services have been provided at the Whittington Hospital instead.
Planning has now begun for transition from these temporary changes which will see the reopening of emergency and general inpatient services for children and young people at the Royal Free Hospital (and University College Hospital which also closed) from April.
NCL have developed a thorough implementation plan to ensure this is done safely. There are agreed criteria relating to the progression of the pandemic, and until these are met, the transition will not be completed.
Until there is a confirmed date for the reopening of these services at University College Hospital and Royal Free Hospital, it is important that children and young people continue to access emergency care through alternative hospitals including the southern hub at Whittington Hospital, North Middlesex University Hospital and Barnet Hospital. We would be very grateful for your support to make sure we communicate consistently with patients and the public.
We will continue to keep you updated.
60,000 patients on My RFL Care
Last month the 60,000th patient registered to use My RFL Care, our patient portal.
Since its launch in August 2020, three out of every five patients invited to join have chosen to sign up.
Earlier this year we added new appointment features, which allow patients to reschedule and cancel appointments directly through the portal. The new features are being piloted for general and colorectal surgery patients, and will be rolled out across other services in the coming months.
More information about My RFL Care can be found on our website.
Damage to the heart found in more than half of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital
A new study shows around half of those hospitalised with COVID-19 and who show raised levels of a protein called troponin have experienced some damage to their heart.
The study, which included 148 patients from the RFL, looked at the impact of raised levels of troponin on the heart by performing an MRI scan at least a month after discharge.
The results have been published in the European Heart Journal.
We have a dedicated COVID-19 section on our website. The latest information for patients and visitors, and our patient resources library, can be found here. This page is continually being updated to reflect the changing situation.
Telephony issues affecting the RFL
We are experiencing some intermittent technical difficulties with our telephony system. This is affecting the RFL switchboard and some of our call centres, and means some patients may have experienced some difficulty in getting through to us.
We are carrying out on-going maintenance work to upgrade the telephony system. This has resulted in an improvement in performance and we continue to monitor the situation closely.