The prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities is rising and we are beginning to see the impact of this on healthcare settings. In the interest of protecting our colleagues, patients and communities, we have reviewed our current guidance. In addition to reducing the impact on people, making the necessary changes will also support us to maintain service provision as we head into winter.
PPE and face coverings
All patient facing staff are now required to wear fluid-repellent surgical masks in their work areas, where interaction with patients and the public occur. We strongly encourage staff and patients to wear face coverings across wider areas such as corridors and offices, particularly when in close proximity to others. Social distancing where possible will also help with reducing the spread of COVID-19 and respiratory viruses.
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in hospital settings, we have made the difficult decision to reduce visiting to one visitor per patient per day, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other acute respiratory infections.
Visitors are now required to wear face coverings or other appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to protect their loved ones. If visitors are exempt this will be recorded in the patient notes.
Visiting must be booked in advance with the ward and we would urge you not to attend if you are experiencing any symptoms. On arrival it will be documented that you have confirmed you do not have symptoms.
This is to keep patients safe as the increase in community transmission can have an impact on our hospital wards if people attend when they are unwell.
Our ask of the public
The public can also support us by taking home their loved ones when they are able to be discharged, so they do not need to remain in hospital longer than needed, as this could increase their risk of transmission. In these cases, home may be a safer environment to isolate and keep well.
If you are able to take your loved ones home, please speak to the Ward Manager.
Accessing urgent care
We would kindly ask the public to only attend our hospitals if it is absolutely necessary, (e.g you have an outpatient appointment or you require urgent care from our Emergency Unit).
We are seeing increasing numbers of people attending our sites with COVID-19 symptoms, so please contact 111 if you require advice, and if you do need to be seen by a healthcare professional an appointment slot will be given to you to attend the most appropriate service.
Please also make sure your first aid kits are up to date at home so you can administer self-care for minor illnesses. Your community pharmacy can also provide health care advice and over the counter medication for most minor illnesses, preventing you waiting in our busy hospital and community healthcare settings.
Also, please do take up the offer of your COVID-19 booster or flu vaccination when you are invited. The vaccination is still the best way to protect yourselves from serious illness and ensure the NHS and our staff are able to help those who need it most.
Thank you for your continued support and co-operation at this time. We continue to regularly review our guidance based on prevalence in our communities and our hospitals. Please continue to exercise your personal judgement and responsibility to help us reduce the impact of COVID-19.