National pet charity Blue Cross has donated ventilators to support NHS hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.
The charity has handed over two of its mechanical ventilators, one to a hospital in London and the other to one in Surrey.
The ventilators are usually used on pets during certain surgical procedures when pets are under anaesthetic and in surgery at their animal hospitals in Merton, south London and Hammersmith in west London.
Blue Cross is responding to calls from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England to veterinary practices, charities and other organisations across the country to provide any ventilators they can spare as they work to increase the country’s supply to prepare for expected increases in the number of patients suffering from severe respiratory problems.
Nadine Lock, Chief Vet at the Blue Cross hospital in Hammersmith, said: “We wanted to offer our help and we understand ventilators are critically important in supporting the recovery of human patients in hospital being treated for the virus. Blue Cross teams can manually ventilate pets in surgery at our hospital in Victoria, should this be necessary.”
The charity’s hospital in Victoria remains open for emergency care, while routine check-ups, advice and medication requests are being handled remotely. The Merton and Hammersmith animal hospitals have closed temporarily. Any registered pet owners needing emergency treatment for their pets should contact the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria for help.
David Catlow, Director of Blue Cross clinical services, said: “The health and wellbeing of our teams, pets and visitors is a priority at Blue Cross and we are reviewing the situation constantly to ensure we do our very best to keep everyone safe.
“We have also reduced our veterinary services by pausing our London mobile clinics, non-urgent hospital appointments and ambulance services. We are also rescheduling any non-urgent surgery in order to focus on maintaining our emergency services.
“We are stepping up our capability to deliver remote consultations by team members working both in the hospitals and potentially from their own homes too. We have implemented daily teleconferences for teams to share their experiences and to help provide support for each other in these very challenging times.”
Blue Cross clients/pet owners who need urgent veterinary treatment or medication for their pet should contact Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria on 0300 777 1890.
Pet owners can sign up for free coronavirus update emails for latest news and tips about how to manage the Covid-19 outbreak with their pets. Visit www.bluecross.org.uk to find out more.