Whittington Hospital spent £21m on capital projects – highest in 10 years
Julia Gregory, LDRS
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
The Whittington Hospital spent £21m in the last financial year on major investments amid its efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic – its biggest outlay for around 10 years.
Staff at the hospital in Archway have cared for 1,492 people with coronavirus throughout the pandemic, including Muswell Hill poet Michael Rosen.
A total of 320 have patients died and in January the Whittington had the highest proportion of Covid patients to hospital beds in the country.
Chief executive Siobhan Harrington spoke at the annual general meeting on Thursday (September 30) about the “rollercoaster” of coronavirus and the difficulty of seeing patients without visitors, particularly on Christmas Day.
Local MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Catherine West paid tribute to the hospital’s care throughout the pandemic, in addition to Save the Whittington campaigner Shirley Franklin.
The trust’s chief finance officer, Kevin Curnow, outlined £21m of capital expenditure over the last financial year. He said that £5m went on IT to aid working from home and 300,000 virtual appointments.
A further £8m was spent on its new education centre at the Archway site, with more waiting rooms created in response to Covid. Infection control measures were also introduced, such as screens in offices and outpatient waiting areas.
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Another £8m went on medical equipment, rapid testing, more continuous positive airway machines to help patients with their breathing, and endoscopy services.
“Large investments going in over the year amounting to £21m and almost £5m was actually in direct response to Covid from the trust,” Mr Curnow said.
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Thanking staff and patients for their response in tackling the virus during such a challenging year, the finance officer added: “This is not the end of it, we are going to need all of that strength, all of that dedication you’ve shown over the last 18 months in the future. We’re not out of the woods yet.”
The number of coronavirus cases at the Whittington hospital now stands at nearly 2,000.
As of September 23, the trust had 12 Covid-positive inpatients, including six in intensive care – one of whom is no longer infected.
Capital expenditure is the money an organisation spends on its assets such as buildings or equipment.