Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Last week, the Royal Free London (RFL) celebrated the 100th Birthday of Barnet Hospital, which opened its doors in November 1920. 

We were delighted to welcome back Sir David Sloman, NHS Regional Director for London and previous group chief executive for the Royal Free London, who visited the hospital to mark the occasion.

While at Barnet Hospital, Sir David officially opened Rainbow ward – Barnet Hospital’s new modular unit and toured the new adult assessment unit (AAU).

The AAU offers 45 dedicated spaces for emergency patients who need assessment or treatment before returning home or being admitted to a specialist ward. The unit also has dedicated COVID and non-COVID areas.

Both the AAU and Rainbow ward have been completed in a short amount of time and I am extremely proud of those involved in these projects. The extra capacity that these facilities create will support us through the coming weeks and months.

You can read more about the AAU below.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that the latest series of the BBC documentary Hospital, which was filmed at the RFL, will be finishing soon. The final two episodes of the series will be broadcast over the next two weeks, with the last episode airing on 14 December.

The six-part series explores the stories of our patients and staff as the trust faces the challenge of delivering healthcare amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you will agree that it has been a true and inspiring illustration of the incredible kindness and expertise demonstrated by NHS staff during the most difficult of times.

The next episode will air on Monday 7 December at 9pm. You can read more in this update.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Service changes

Adult out-patient blood taking services at the RFL 

The adult out-patient blood taking services at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Edgware Community Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital are open for all blood tests.

An appointment must be booked for all tests. Patients will need to bring their confirmation text/email - they will not be able to enter our hospitals without this.

More details are available on our website.
Re-introduction of partners to some RFL maternity services
In line with national recommendations, the maternity service at the RFL stopped all non-essential visiting in March 2020. Some of these restrictions have now been lifted:

  • one consistent partner (the same partner as in labour) is able to visit for a period of four hours on our antenatal and postnatal wards
  • partners can stay between 9am-7pm if labour needs to be induced
  • partners are able to attend 12 and 20 week scans

To ensure we are following government guidance on social distancing, we are unable to reintroduce visiting in the following areas: triage, antenatal clinics, and maternity day assessment unit.
Read more on our website.

Round the clock care from our new adult assessment unit

A new multi-specialty AAU has opened at Barnet Hospital which provides consultant-led care, seven days a week.
The AAU team are responsible for looking after emergency patients who need assessment or treatment before returning home or being admitted to a specialist ward.
The unit has 45 assessment spaces, including COVID and non-COVID assessment areas, four side rooms, eight consultation rooms and two treatment rooms, including facilities to perform ultrasound/ diagnostics procedures. Typically patients will stay in AAU no longer than 24 hours.
The unit also provides access to specialist investigations and diagnostics, high quality medical care, occupational and physiotherapy services.
Read more here.

"It felt good to be involed" - Sam's FLARE trial journey

The Royal Free Hospital are recruiting people who live in north London and have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or are awaiting a test, to take part in a trial.
The trial aims to see if licensed drugs favipiravir and lopinavir/ritonavir, alone or in combination, can stop the virus replicating.
Medical student Sam Flatau took part in the trial after testing positive for COVID-19 in October.
You can read about Sam’s experience of the trial here.

Just to say "thank you"

The Royal Free Charity is asking the public to send messages and pictures to say thank you to our staff.

This is a challenging winter for everyone across the trust and these will help bring a smile to the faces of our heroes who are working hard to keep us all safe and well.

Details about how you can send your messages of support and pictures can be found on the Royal Free Charity’s website.

BBC Hospital documentary continues

The latest series of Hospital, filmed at the RFL, is nearing the end with the final two episodes to be aired over the next two weeks.
The series has so far received five-star reviews and widespread coverage, including in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Sunday Time and the i.
The series has focused on how the trust is getting services up and running and treating as quickly as possible patients who could not be seen during the height of the pandemic.
The fifth episode will be broadcast on Monday 7 December at 9pm. The previous episodes are available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Latest information for the public

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.

Rainbow ward at Barnet Hospital

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier this year, we started building a new modular unit, Rainbow ward, at Barnet Hospital. This opened to patients in October.  
We built this in line with COVID-19 emergency legislation which did not require us to submit a planning application at the time.
We have now submitted a temporary planning application. You will be able to view the application on Barnet Council’s website shortly. 

Plans for upgrade of lifts at the Royal Free Hospital

An upgrade and refurbishment of the lifts at the Royal Free Hospital will start in the new year to improve the experience of travelling around the hospital for patients, visitors and staff.
From mid-January, two of the six main passenger lifts will be out of action while they are replaced with newer, more efficient controls and operating equipment. This is part of a three-phase project to replace each of the six lifts at the Royal Free Hospital. Replacing the first two lifts will take approximately 21 weeks to complete.
To keep disruption to a minimum, staff will be briefed on where to direct patients from the entrance to help people move around the hospital efficiently, and additional signage will be in place directing to alternative lifts and stairs.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the project.

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