The Independent London Newspaper
20th November 2018

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey treated at Royal Free for Ebola after return from Sierra Leone

    The Royal Free has an isolation unit to treat Ebola patients

    Published: 30 December, 2014
    By TOM FOOT

    THE Royal Free’s isolation unit chief has said the system of transferring Ebola patients in and out of the Hampstead hospital could be “improved further” despite a dummy run last month.

    Speaking before the arrival of a new Ebola patient yesterday (Tuesday), Dr Marc Jacobs said the “arrangements” had got better after training sessions last month.

    “But he felt that this could be improved further and the team would be looking at this,” a recent board report said.

    Pauline Cafferkey, 39, arrived at the Hampstead hospital’s high-security isolation unit back entrance yesterday morning flanked by a police escort.

    The Scottish health worker, who had recently visited Sierra Leone in West Africa, was flown from Glasgow to London in an air-tight tent, after being transported into an army aircraft in science fiction-style scenes.

    In his report, Dr Jacobs added that staff and patient safety “risk assessments” had been made, adding that all Ebola treatment samples would “placed in drums which are securely sealed”. 

    The drums are taken to an incinerator inside a “mini tent” in the unit, which is on the 11th floor, just below the private patients wing of the hospital. 

    Emergency measures are in place to stop any outbreak and protect patients including “double locked doors with security officers” and a system where “a very agitated” Ebola patient on the run would be “sedated”.

    Chief executive David Sloman said the Trust was insured against Ebola infection negligence claims through the “NHS Litigation Authority Clinical Negligence Scheme”.

    A Royal Free spokeswoman said: “The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust can confirm that a patient is being treated for Ebola at the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital.”

    British nurse Will Pooley, who was admitted to the high-level isolation unit in August, delivered Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message this year. 

    He said that he was “lucky to be born in a wealthy country, lucky to be well-educated, lucky to have access to the best possible treatment”.

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