The following update comes from Tony Chambers, Interim Chief Executive of BHRUT:
Managing coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to be an evolving situation and so along with other NHS trusts across the country, we are continuing to plan and implement changes to help keep our patients and staff safe.
As you may have heard or seen over the weekend, sadly we had a second death at the Trust, a patient, who was 72, and had been very unwell with significant other health conditions. I would like to assure you that we are taking all necessary measures in line with the very latest guidance from Public Health England, for all of our staff, patients and visitors. As a Trust we are proud and grateful for all the ongoing efforts to provide care and support at this difficult time.
We are focusing on discharging patients wherever this is safe and appropriate to do so, and are working with our system partners to support this. We are also working with our NHS colleagues across north east London to ensure there is a consistent approach to reducing the number of visitors to all of our sites and the number of people visiting hospitals for an outpatient appointment.
Measures we have taken to date include:
Postponing some routine planned inpatient surgery. We are continuing with cancer, emergency surgeries and day cases.
You may have heard about the changes to testing in the community, which means there will not be a swab drive-through and two holding pods at both of our hospital sites have closed for the time being.
Carrying out outpatient appointments virtually where possible, either online or over the phone. This has been welcomed by our patients, especially older people who were relieved to hear that they did not need to travel to hospital at this time. There are some exceptions to this for the time being, such as our Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinics, Rapid Access Heart Failure Diagnostic clinics and our Ambulatory Hot Clinics which will need to continue as face to face consultations.
All of our stalls in the entrances at Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital have been removed until further notice.
We have also paused all volunteering and patient partnership activity.
As part of our operational planning we are looking at how we deliver other services, including phlebotomy.
We have introduced the following temporary visitor restrictions, which we are keeping under constant review, to protect our vulnerable patients:
No one under the age of 18 can visit.
To protect babies and children, we are only allowing parents or primary caregivers to visit on our neonatal intensive care unit and all children’s wards.
Women are only allowed to have one person – specifically the birthing partner – accompany them in our Maternity department.
On wards where we have patients with suspected coronavirus, one visitor will be allowed per patient. Visitors will be given protective equipment to wear while on the ward.
Patients in other areas can have two visitors (over 18) on a daily basis.
There will of course be exceptions which will be considered by our ward managers, and these temporary restrictions will not apply to patients who are receiving end of life care.
We are also looking at a number of measures which may affect other non-urgent services in the near future. For all of the latest information please check our website and social media channels; please do share where appropriate.
Please also do share key updates within your networks, of measures that will affect people such as the visitors policy and reminding people that if they think they have symptoms and could have been exposed to the virus, that they should read the information on the NHS 111 website.
Please do also remind people to follow the latest advice and guidance from the NHS and Public Health England websites to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
This post was thanks to Councillor Gillian Ford