Publish date: 10 May 2020

The huge impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our patients and staff was the focus of a BBC News report broadcast tonight (Sunday).

Critical care matron Elaine Thorpe with BBC News medical correspondent Fergus Walsh. 

Medical correspondent Fergus Walsh returned to our intensive care unit (ICU), one month after his previous visit in which he gave the public their first insight into how the NHS frontline is managing the biggest challenge in its history.

Fergus spoke to matron Elaine Thorpe and Dr Jim Down once again to ask them for their reflections on the past month.

Jim explained that patients with COVID-19 who have been in intensive care have been very sick for a long period.

“This is a horrible disease, even by intensive care standards,” he said. “I am pretty shell shocked by it if I am really honest.”

Elaine also spoke about the emotional impact working through the crisis is having on some staff.

“When you’re not here, you’re still thinking about here, so you can’t get it out of your mind a lot of the time,” she said.

Our chief executive Professor Marcel Levi also spoke to Fergus in our acute medical unit (AMU) where he works as an acute medicine doctor.

We have seen a sharp fall in the number of patients coming to our emergency department since lockdown began. Marcel urged the public to seek hospital treatment if they need it, otherwise their condition may worsen with serious consequences.

The news report ended on an uplifting note with Ertan Nazim who was discharged from UCLH last week after a month in hospital. In Fergus’s first report, we met Ertan just as he had been admitted to intensive care because COVID-19 was causing him severe breathing difficulties.

During his stay, Ertan was supported by a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator. University College London engineers worked with clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to build the device. Read more.

In the latest news report, Ertan is seen having his first follow-up appointment by video link since being discharged. The appointment is led by Dr David Howell, divisional clinical director of critical care and Dr Dorothy Wade, psychologist.

During the video consultation, Ertan's wife, Margaret, said to David and Dorothy: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. We got him home all thanks to you.”