Private hospital provider Spire Healthcare has taken over chemotherapy services in Norwich from the NHS in a bid to ease the pressure of treating patients with Covid-19.

A partnership between Spire and Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) have reached an agreement that will see NHS patients with cancer being treated at  Spire’s Norwich hospital, allowing Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital to focus on caring for people with COVID-19. 

Spire Norwich did not provide a chemotherapy service prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, but since the end of March, it has worked with staff from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to transfer its entire chemotherapy service to Spire. Approximately 300 patients use the service each week. 

 Spire Norwich will also provide care for NHS cardiology and spinal surgery patients. A midwifery clinic is planned to begin in the next few weeks.

Since the partnership began three weeks ago, Spire Norwich has seen 500 NHS patients, and is carrying out 35-40 urgent operations per week.

 The partnership between Spire Healthcare and the Trust been made possible under a national agreement, which Spire, alongside the whole of the independent sector, has signed to make its staff, equipment and facilities available to the NHS to help alleviate the pressure caused by the pandemic.

Nayab Haider, Hospital Director at Spire Healthcare, said: “We are very proud to be supporting the NHS during the worst public health crisis seen in decades. Even though tackling the coronavirus is the number one priority, it is so important that people with other urgent health conditions continue to access the treatment they require. We are very pleased that we’re able to play our part in meeting this need.” 

 Sam Higginson, Chief Executive at NNUH, said: “Our mission is to care for our patients, whether they have Covid-19 or other urgent care needs which are unrelated to the pandemic. The support we have received from Spire has been tremendous and we are delighted to be working in partnership to benefit the local community at this difficult time.”