Health workers in PPE intubating a patient

NHS-developed Covid-19 treatment saves one million worldwide

A clinical trial ran in the NHS proved dexamethasone, an inexpensive and widely available steroid, to be an effective treatment for Covid-19 nine months ago. Now, newly-published data has shown the steroid treatment has been involved in saving around one million lives worldwide.

The same figures, revealed in a paper to the NHS England board looking at the health service’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, showed the drug to have saved 22,000 lives in the UK.

Led by scientists and researchers from the University of Oxford, and involving tens of thousands of patients and 175 NHS hospitals, the RECOVERY trial was able to announce the beneficial treatment effects of dexamethasone in June 2020.

Since then, it has been used to treat millions of seriously unwell Covid-19 patients, with RECOVERY researchers finding it cut the risk of death for Covid-19 patients on ventilators by a third.

Those receiving oxygen saw their risk of death cut by almost a fifth when treated with dexamethasone.

Previously, the steroid treatment was used for a wide range of ailments, including skin conditions and allergies.

It is now being used around the world to improve the survival rates of Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen or ventilation.

With the NHS heavily involved in the breakthrough research in hospital settings, it also made dexamethasone available to patients on hospital wards in England just hours after the positive results of the trial were announced.

NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Thanks to the exceptional work of our researchers, NHS staff and patients, around one million lives may have been saved around the world.

“Research that would usually take years produced answers in record time – with results that have reverberated across the globe.

“Just as this virus has spread across borders, so too must the treatments and vaccinations that are humanity’s shared ‘exit strategy’ from this pandemic.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director, added: “None of us have previously lived through a year like this one, in which NHS staff responded quickly to care for the first cases last January and went on to expertly treat 380,000 hospitalised Covid patients.

“At the same time, they kept routine services going for millions of people, as well as rolling out the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in our history, giving more than 23 million people vital protection against the virus.”

NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


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National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

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