NHS patients needing urgent surgery are being treated at Torquay’s private Mount Stuart Hospital under a new service set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 1,000 operations vital to NHS patients with cancer and other conditions have been carried out at Covid-free Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay in four months under the enhanced partnership between Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Ramsay Health.

As the pandemic struck and Torbay Hospital adapted to take Covid-19 patients, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, transferred patients and planned surgery within days to the designated Covid-19-free Mount Stuart Hospital.

Emma Brooks, operational manager at Mount Stuart for the trust, relocated at the start of the pandemic to take up the new role.

She was joined by about 40 trust colleagues from 30 locations and a range of roles from IT to surgical, in order to transfer urgent surgery speedily and reduce delay to vulnerable patients.

She said “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved, the teams worked hard to ensure that pathways were in place for the safe transfer of patient care.

“The joint working between the two sites has been fantastic and staff from the trust have been made to feel extremely welcome.”

This major move, including equipment and staff, has helped mitigate the impact on patients from the pandemic by reducing waiting lists while ensuring that surgery remains safe.

The huge logistical task of transferring surgery included moving the entire breast cancer surgical pathway to Mount Stuart Hospital in three days.

Between March 30 and July 24, Mount Stuart completed 1,057 theatre procedures, 3,015 outpatient attendances and 1,384 diagnostic scans.

Jeanette Mercer, hospital director at Mount Stuart Hospital, said: “I am immensely proud of what has been achieved; our teams have embraced new ways of working to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time via skilled staff.

“Mount Stuart Hospital and TSDFT have a long-standing partnership and this unified approach is even more important as we stand together as one team to face the challenges ahead.”