The Covid-19 crisis may have been unprecedented, but for Dr Richard Fawcett, pictured above and below, working on the frontline is nothing new.
Before his role as an Emergency Medicine Consultant at Royal Stoke University Hospital, North Midlands, Fawcett conducted three tours of Afghanistan, treating ill and wounded soldiers. Despite the vast differences between the two situations, Fawcett’s extensive military experiences and qualifications have helped him and his team develop a robust response to the Covid-19 crisis.
His army tours also contributed: “Looking at the designs of how they set up field hospitals and stuff helps,” he adds. “And working with international colleagues – it’s good to get a non-UK perspective on how other countries deal with certain circumstances.”
This involved an overhaul of the whole emergency area and its processes. “We now run two emergency medicine departments out of one department,” he explains. “We’ve had to basically split the whole department in half.”
Now, Stoke hospital features red zones and green zones: the former is for those displaying potential Covid symptoms and the latter is for those who aren’t. As such, the pathways and patient-flow of the hospital have had to be changed to avoid any instances of contact between these areas.
“We have separate ambulance entrances for red and green patients. We have two resuscitation departments, two areas for major patients, two areas for walk-in patients, two minor injuries areas, two paediatrics departments, as well as designing alternative pathways to try and stream those patients that don’t have to come through the emergency department to other places.” he explains, noting how such divisions have had to be executed throughout the whole hospital to prevent crowding and maintain social distancing.
The task may have been monumental, but Fawcett takes pride in the hospital’s response: “This is what we’ve always trained for and it’s been good to see how us as an emergency department have responded to it. We’ve ensured patient safety and staff safety has always been at the forefront.”