A new look at Management of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Saint-Côme Polyclinic, Compiègne, like many other French hospital sites, has had to deal with the first wave of the coronavirus. The establishment was, with those of Compiègne and Creil, among the first in the country to be affected by this new disease at the end of February 2020 with the Oise cluster. Its teams had to mobilise and reorganise themselves to deal with the then epidemic in order to ensure, in collaboration with the public hospital, the care of Covid-19 patients.

A new look at Management of the Covid-19 pandemic

Close to Crépy-en-Valois, France's first noted Covid cluster, the hospitals of Creil, Compiègne and the Saint-Côme polyclinic were the first to enter crisis mode. Three weeks before the rest of the country, they were already heavily impacted by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. "Crépy-en-Valois was one of the first epidemic foci. Then we were heavily impacted, because of the government's hesitation about what to do at first. It's true that at that time we didn't know much about the virus and its extent. We quickly had to organise ourselves to deal with this epidemic with Covid patients and staff quarantined," says Vincent Vesselle, director of the Saint-Côme polyclinic, the largest private clinic in the Picardy region. It has nearly 800 workers, including 550 salaried staff, the city's second largest employer. Apart from Covid-19, the establishment treats 15 000 other patients every year, 25 000 in A&E visits, 1 300 maternity deliveries, 5,000 chemotherapy treatments, i.e., one in three cancers in the Oise region, and 15 000 dialysis treatments. The integration of new practitioners and new activities have moreover called for the completion of a building extension in 2019 (cost €10m) for this establishment, which was only recently opened in 2009.

Public and private hospital hand in hand

Between the GHPSO (Groupe Hospitalier Publicier Sud Oise), the Beauvais hospital, the Compiègne hospital and the Saint-Côme clinic, a territorial coordination unit has been organised to exchange and offer mutual assistance. This includes a daily telephone conference with the Samu's regulating doctor. "At the beginning of the Covid-19 health crisis, it was very complicated to deal with all the actions that needed to be taken. Especially in regard to masks. One day, they were recommended; the next, they were not. Not to mention the problems with the supply of medicines and materials. We are lucky in this area to live in very good harmony with the public hospitals. So we worked together," says the director, who very quickly decided to suspend all non-urgent interventions in order to admit Covid-19 patients in support of the hospital. In May, the activity resumed almost normally with the care programme of patients who had not been able to be taken care of before. The clinic has a total of 270 beds, places and posts. "The second wave has been easier to manage because we are less unprepared and better prepared. There is even a lull at the end of the year." Picardy was very affected for the first wave; however, for the second wave, it was more preserved than the Hauts de France (Nord) and Ile-de-France. Nevertheless, it was necessary to increase the capacity of intensive care units (ICUs) to meet the needs of Covid-19 patients, knowing that other pathologies continued to be treated to avoid loss of opportunity for patients.

A UTC graduate at the head of the Saint-Côme Polyclinique

Vincent Vesselle, a biomedical engineering graduate by training, is a UTC alumus. He has been at Head of the Saint-Côme Polyclinic, Compiègne since 2006 and also chairs GIE CIMA, Compiègne's advanced medical imaging centre. This GIE is a 50/50 collaboration between the Saint-Côme Polyclinic and the Compiègne Hospital. It manages the authorisations for Compiègne's 3 MRIs, its PET scan and 2 gamma cameras. Historically, there is a strong partnership between the GIE and UTC and the engineers from UTC have access to the MRI units for training purposes. The UTC also has an Inserm unit that works closely with the radiology department - ACRIM - set up on the site of the Saint-Côme Polyclinic for imaging research work. This involves work on the new technique of elastography by magnetic resonance (ERM), in a collaborative venture with the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, USA).