The COVID-19 pandemic was a major shock to the NHS and its impact on the provision of care and services for people with other health needs. Even before large number of COVID-19 hospitalisations, a total of 4.4 million patients were on the waiting list for routine hospital treatment. The pandemic only further increased the waiting lists and pressure on the current infrastructure and staffing levels. Throughout the pandemic, the challenge has been to increase hospital capacity and freeing up beds, which resulted in the cancellation of elective surgery in March 2020 and non-COVID-19 conditions and treatments.
Clinical decisions were happening by the hour to close hospital wards, change them into critical intensive care areas, and re-categorise hospital wings, floors and departments into Red, Yellow and Green zones for high, medium and low risk COVID-19 infection Patients. As such, our teams had to dynamically change our operating service, planning, stock room layouts, PPE management, infection control, staff training, donning and doffing of PPE and overall delivery to the newly adopted practices.