Three London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust consultants have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their outstanding work during the first wave of the pandemic.
Ganesh Suntharalingam, who worked in intensive care as part of a team looking after the most critically ill patients at Northwick Park and is also the President of the Intensive Care Society, will receive an OBE, while colleagues Nuala Lucas and Gurjinder Singh will awarded MBEs at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace next year.
Northwick Park and Ealing hospitals were at the forefront of the outbreak as the virus swept through their respective communities, hospitalising thousands of patients.
Staff were redeployed and hospitals reconfigured to meet the challenge, which reached a peak in in April when more than 1,300 patients were treated for Covid-19.
Nuala, who works as a Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist in the hospital’s maternity department, helped look after women in labour with Covid-19, ensuring both staff and patients remained safe.
Gurjinder Singh is an infectious diseases consultant at Ealing Hospital.
Ganesh said: “It was an extraordinary time but we all met the challenge together and I’m very proud to be part of the team. We pulled out all the stops and the response from everyone in our hospitals was phenomenal
“I am involved in national work via the Intensive Care Society but within LNWH it’s a privilege to be part of a rota with a lot of great leadership and collaboration coming from many others, so this honour is for my colleagues as much as myself. The pandemic has put critical care front and centre in the public’s mind and it’s great to see that work recognised.”
Nuala Lucas nearly missed out on news of her inclusion in the Queens Honours List after mistaking the email for spam but was stunned when she later reviewed the message to find she had been nominated for an MBE.
“I was incredulous. It’s a fantastic honour not just for me and my profession but the whole maternity team I work with.”
“It was a tough time for everyone, but the camaraderie and way in which everyone pulled together was extraordinary. I haven’t seen anything like it in my career.
“The majority of hospital services were suspended and given over to the treatment of Covid-19 patients, but that’s not possible in maternity as you can’t postpone a baby’s due date.
“We worked out a system where partners could be present at the birth and, luckily, the majority of mums-to-be displayed mild symptoms of the virus with minimal risk of onward transmission to their babies.
“We’ve been through this once so are better prepared clinically and psychologically and ready to step up when needed.”
Gurjinder Singh Sandhu, an infectious diseases consultant at Ealing Hospital, played a huge role in training staff before the arrival of the virus in March as well as treating patients.
Around 160 staff from Ealing Hospital signed letters of support and nomination recognising his work.
“Hospitals aren’t about one person and I want everyone to recognise how hard they worked. It was a team effort that got us through and I want to thank all my clinical and non-clinical colleagues.”