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Chris Bown standing in a paternoster cart

Paternoster lifts hospital’s spirits

The capital’s last surviving paternoster lift has been bought back to life to help reduce the threat of Covid-19 at Northwick Park Hospital in London.

The passenger lift, which consists of a chain or conveyor belt of open compartments that move in a continuous loop up and down inside of the building, was originally put out of service in 2013.

Now, engineers have started up the 50 year-old lift again helping minimise potential crowding in the hospital’s main lifts.

Chris Bown, Chief Executive of LNWH, said: “The number of Covid-19 patients being treated here is small at the moment but with services re-starting we are still mindful of the need keep staff and patients as safe as possible.

“It remains a busy place, despite visiting restrictions, and the lifts will give staff an alternative way of travelling up and down the main block which contains most of our wards.”

Northwick Park has discharged more than 1000 Covid patients in the past five months, while continuing to run urgent and emergency services during the pandemic.

It has since bought in a number of measures to minimise the risk of infection which most recently include all staff and patients being given temperature checks on entering the building along with face masks and hand gel.

The first paternoster lift was built in Liverpool in 1868 and was designed for speed and efficiency so people didn’t have to wait in a lobby for a single lift.

The word Paternoster means “Our Father’ with the lift’s constant loop mechanism reminiscent of rosary beds used to recite prayers.

The paternoster consists of 16 single compartments and will operate between 8am-6pm five days a week. It is only available to staff whose ID card will be given the appropriate clearance.

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