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Only 50 admissions for 'Olympic family' during games

London’s NHS saw only a minimal impact from the Olympic games, HSJ has discovered.

Provisional activity data indicates there were 400 attendances and only 50 admissions over the fortnight from members of the “Olympic family”, defined as athletes, officials, journalists, VIPs and sponsors.

In an interview with HSJ, NHS London’s 2012 programme director Hilary Ross said the overall level of activity, including spectators, had been within the normal range and might have been less than during the same period last year.

She told HSJ that trusts in the capital had been told to plan for the “equivalent of a mild winter” but the initial data suggested there had been no spike in activity.

Ms Ross said the evidence from other Olympics games had been that activity had not risen significantly.

She said there had been “significant anxiety” before the games about possible interruptions to pharmacy deliveries and access to services but these had been planned for and appropriate measures taken.

An NHS London control room in NHS London was staffed each day from 7am to 7pm with an executive director and three other managers. The executive director on duty was briefed twice a day and there was a daily conference call with the three designated Olympic hospitals, primary care trust clusters, the Health Protection Agency, London Ambulance Service and the Department of Health, which would in turn brief Downing Street’s emergency response committee COBRA.

The strategic health authority was given £16.5m by the Department of Health to cover the games itself - £7.6m for extra ambulance services and £8.9m for planning, bid commitments and work with the three designated hospital trusts: Homerton University Hospital Trust, Barts Health Trust and University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Homerton was the hospital set aside for treating the Olympic family, Barts and the London for spectators and UCLH for Olympic family members staying in the Olympic hotel in central London.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games ran its own polyclinic in the Olympic Park which was staffed by NHS volunteer staff who had taken the time off work.

HSJ spoke to a volunteer at one of the other 13 Olympic sites staffed by NHS volunteers.

She said: “We had physios, GPs, A&E nurses and an even a professor of colorectal surgery working together. We calculated that if everyone had charged their day rate it would have cost about £500,000.”

NHS London’s work on the games included promoting the health legacy of the games as well as managing service interruption and extra activity.

“Go London” is the name of the health legacy project run by NHS London.

Ms Ross said work was ongoing to decide where these projects would sit when the strategic health authority was abolished next April.



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