Dr Tom Best has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to critical care, particularly for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Best was instrumental in ensuring King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was able to safely manage the high volume of patients requiring intensive care during the first wave in April 2020.
King’s had among the highest number of acutely unwell patients in the country during the first wave of the virus.
"There is nothing that I've experienced that could compare to this" says Dr Best.
"King’s is a truly special place. During the first wave, we were one of the busiest intensive care services, with the sickest patients in the busiest region – yet, with what appears to be some of the best outcomes."
The intensive care consultant recently featured in the Channel 4 documentary, Surviving Covid, which charted the lives of four patients who spent many months in critical care following a Covid diagnosis.
In addition to highlighting the long-term effects of the virus, the documentary also explored the impact of spending prolonged periods in intensive care.
“Some of our most unwell patients spend weeks or even months in critical care while they recover from life-threatening conditions”, says Dr Best.
“We know from feedback that a significant number of patients suffer from delirium as they drift in and out of consciousness, which can be very frightening and can delay recovery.
“During these prolonged hospital stays it’s vital that we care for the mind as well as the body.”
Filmed in King’s new Critical Care Centre, the documentary showcased many of the features funded by King’s College Hospital Charity to help reduce delirium and anxiety, including floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking nearby Ruskin Park for natural light and fresh breeze.
"What I’m most proud of is being an employee of King’s”, says Dr Best.
“Being a doctor, in a job I love, surrounded by extraordinary people who collaboratively achieve extraordinary things every day.”