Enhanced infection control
We have made a number of changes to ensure you are safe and can be protected when you come into our hospitals. These new ways of behaving in the hospital may take some getting used to but they have been put in place to protect patients and staff.
We are asking everyone to follow social distancing guidance, wear a face covering or mask, and follow our Stay Safe, Keep Apart signs.
When you visit our hospitals we will ask you to:
- keep a safe distance from other patients and staff where possible. Please continue to wear a face covering in our buildings even when you are more than 2 metres from another person.
- follow the one-way system at entry and exit points. This may mean some queuing at peak times, but we will minimise this as much as possible.
- follow any floor signs and walk on the left in main corridors.
- use the stairs rather than the lifts if possible. We are limiting the number of people using our lifts and prioritising those who need them more, such as those with disabilities.
To make it as easy as possible to follow social distancing rules, we have:
- displayed ‘Stay Safe, Keep Apart’ posters around our hospital sites
- displayed signs to indicate where you should stand when waiting or queuing
- displayed signs to show patient flow around the department – this could be in one direction or corridors are marked so people walk on the left
- limited the number of people in our coffee shops and food retail outlets at any one time
- reduced seating to ensure we comply with the Government’s social distancing rules (seats that cannot be used will be clearly marked)
We are following national guidance for infection prevention and making sure staff and volunteers are trained in how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital until their result is known. If they are well enough for discharge, we will give advice on how to self-isolate at home. Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned, as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others.
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, and for at least 20 seconds, 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.
You can find the latest information and advice on the GOV.UK website.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In line with Government guidelines, all patients and visitors must wear a face mask, covering their nose and mouth, while inside our buildings. Please be aware that even while wearing a face mask you must follow social distancing rules.
Our staff are also wearing face masks, as well as appropriate PPE. This may include visors or gloves and aprons. We have also put up screens to protect reception staff and patients.
Separating COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients
Patients coming in for planned (elective) care are seen in dedicated parts of our hospitals, away from confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.
All patients admitted to our emergency and urgent care departments are also assessed for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. They are screened and isolated on admission until their results are known to prevent transmission to other patients, visitors and staff.
COVID-19 testing and symptom-checking
Inpatients coming in for planned treatment are advised to self-isolate before their procedure and are tested for COVID-19 before they are admitted.
As a priority, we also make testing available to all staff and members of their household if any of them develop COVID-19 symptoms.
All staff working in planned treatment areas are asked about signs of COVID-19 every day.