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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for patients and visitors

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for patients and visitors

Our Trust and the NHS are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. We have put in place measures to ensure the safety of all our patients and staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The latest information on symptoms of Coronavirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found on nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We know that the spread of Covid-19 can be reduced by less face to face contact with others. Where possible we will try and use alternative ways and methods for appointments with our community patients. For our outpatient appointments we will try and undertake these appointments using the use of technology including telephone or Skype calls.

Where an appointment is non-essential or can wait we may also defer the appointment in discussion with you to avoid the need of you having to come to a clinic with other people.

If you have any concerns then please do contact the team or your allocated care coordinator.

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • in the last 14 days you've been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.

If you are a carer, family member or a friend of our patients and are either displaying the symptoms (cough, high temperature or a shortness of breath), have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus or have travelled in the last 14 days  to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus, we would kindly ask to refrain from visiting the hospital as we need to protect our patients. We have facilities to speak to patients over the phone or via Skype. Please speak to the Ward Manager before arranging your visit.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.