We provide specialist support for most vulnerable Covid patients
More than 1,400 county residents at risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19 have been treated with antiviral and other specialist medications by Northamptonshire’s hospitals after testing positive for the virus.
Northampton and Kettering general hospitals have both been providing the treatments – either as tablets or intravenous infusions – as part of the national network of Covid Medicines Delivery Units (CMDUs) set up in December 2021.
Antivirals or neutralising monoclonal antibody medications have been made available in Northamptonshire – under specific circumstances – to people with certain underlying medical conditions.
These can include people with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cancer, kidney or liver disease, immune deficiencies, or patients taking long-term immune system suppressing medications for certain conditions.
Having these conditions puts patients at greater risk from Covid-19 but the specialist treatments are known to be up to 89% effective at preventing more serious illness and hospitalisation if taken within seven days of onset of symptoms.
The county’s CMDU triage hub – which screens and contacts positive patients and offers them the treatment – is based at Northampton General Hospital and is run currently by a dedicated team of four Urgent Care Physician Associates.
How we set up the CMDUs
A county CMDU hub was set up at Northampton General Hospital with a second CMDU established at Kettering General Hospital to serve patients living in North Northamptonshire.
Northampton General Hospital’s Clinical Director for Urgent Care, Dr Tristan Dyer, who oversees the CMDU, said: “Our team of Urgent Care Physician Associates were asked to very rapidly set up a county CMDU for Northamptonshire in December of last year and they have done an amazing job.
“Since we launched the service they have contacted over 4,000 patients with Covid-19 and offered these treatments to patients who were not improving and were suitable for treatment.
“Where patients have needed to come to hospital for IV infusions of monoclonal antibodies they have also delivered many of the treatments.”
If patients live in the Kettering/North Northamptonshire area they have received their treatments from Kettering General Hospital.
Consultant Physician and Chief of Medicine, Dr Kish Patel, is overseeing the CMDU at Kettering General Hospital. He said: “At KGH, following triage by the team at NGH, each patient is contacted by phone to plan their treatment.
“We have a dedicated team based on Sir Thomas Moore ward that is able to deliver infusions seven-days-a-week.
“Our team has done a great job supporting and reassuring patients who can often be very anxious after contracting Covid on top of their underlying conditions.
“We are very proud to have supported the CMDUs as an important additional form of support for the most vulnerable patients in Northamptonshire.”
Up to 1st August, 440 patients have received IV treatments at the CMDU at KGH and 233 at NGH. In addition some 809 antiviral medications have been issued to patients across the county.
How the Covid Medicines Delivery Units work
The Physician Associates at the Northampton Covid Medicines Delivery Unit Hub have explained how the CMDUs work.
Commenting as a group they said: “Vaccination has offered a degree of protection for patient in high-risk groups but they still remain vulnerable, in particular to new variants of Covid-19.
“Many of the highest risk patients will have received a letter from the NHS telling them in advance that they may be eligible for these treatments in the event they test positive for Covid-19.
“These patients will receive PCR or LFT tests to keep at home in case they develop symptoms and if they test positive for Covid-19 they are asked to upload their results onto the gov.uk website.
“Positive patients in our region are then flagged electronically to our team at the CMDU hub at Northampton General Hospital for triaging. They may also be referred to the CMDU via their GP or NHS 111 following a positive result.
“We call all patients to assess how they are coping with Covid and if they are not improving, and they are within seven-days of onset of symptoms, we may offer them antivirals or neutralising monoclonal antibody treatment at either Northampton or Kettering general hospitals.
“Depending on their condition, and the medications they are on, that will mean a relative picking up oral tablets from the hospital pharmacy at either Northampton or Kettering general hospitals or going into those hospitals to have an intravenous infusion in rooms set aside for this purpose.”
Posted on Thursday 18th August 2022