A potential lifeline for London’s only HIV/AIDS Hospital during COVID-19 epidemic

Mildmay Hospital has been given a potential lifeline today. We are, at last, being contacted by NHS Commissioners (CCGs) asking if we can take patients – which of course we can because we have an entirely empty ward, in addition to other capacities. We are aware of potential referrals from right across London as NHS clinicians need to move patients out of Intensive/acute care.

We anticipate the arrival of our first COVID-19 step-down patient sometime within the next 24 hours with more to follow soon after. Step-down patients are those who are no longer in need of acute care and so can be moved to isolation and recovery beds until they are well enough to be discharged.  At the same time, we very much hope that we will also start to see the return of HIV patients (COVID-19 negative) as NHS hospitals strive to free up as many beds as possible.

We have not yet been offered block contract funding by NHS England. So for now, referrals are still on a per-patient basis and each patient must receive separate authorisation from the CCG for their particular NHS Trust, which is more costly and time-sensitive.

We have halted the countdown to our closure today, but this is by no means a full reprieve. Mildmay Hospital, as a charity without guaranteed funding, is still in a fragile financial situation and remains at risk of closure.

However, we are reversing the redundancies of as many of our staff as possible and recalling all those that are willing or able to return. At first, we will have to rely more than usual on ‘Bank’ and agency staff until we can get operations fully up and running.

The other challenge we face is the sourcing of hospital scrubs and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff to treat COVID-19 patients. PPE is in short supply because the demand across all health services in the UK is extraordinarily high. We are doing our best to get everything in place and ready to admit our first COVID-19 patients as soon as possible.

Thank you all so very much for your amazing support. Our campaign to avoid closure continues even as we admit new patients. It will continue until we are certain that our future is secured. So please keep sharing this petition and telling people about the #SaveMildmay campaign – you are our greatest asset!

Despite still facing closure, Mildmay is, at last, playing our part in the Covid-19 outbreak. Every hospital bed in the UK must be utilised during this unprecedented national crisis.

Our petition to Government stands at an amazing 59,000+ signatures. Please help us to reach our next milestone of 75,000 signatures.

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