During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant burden on the healthcare system. In view of the demands on facilities and staff and growing concerns for safety of patients and staff members due to COVID-19, all planned surgery ceased in March 2020.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way we work with ongoing restricted access to hospitals. As lockdown begins to ease, we are restarting surgery in the safest way possible for patients and staff. There are some new rules and regulations which are likely to remain in place at least until a vaccine or treatments have been found for COVID-19.
There are many factors that we have had to consider within the hospital in order to ensure patient and staff safety. We face new challenges and we want to assure you that we are doing all that we can to prioritise your safety.
The main risk to patients that are contemplating surgery is the significantly increased risk of medical complications if COVID-19 is contracted in the time around your operation. We therefore need to ensure that any surgery is performed in as safe a way as possible.
We will plan to stagger admissions so that fewer patients attend the entrance space at any one time. There will be more spacing in the recovery areas and wards between patients and staff.
Operations will take much longer to do in view of social distancing measures amongst staff and the time required for PPE equipment to be used. Additional cleansing procedures of theatre spaces and recovery areas will also prolong times between operations. We recognise that there will be a significant impact on how many patients can undergo surgery in a single day as a result of these measures and that patients will be waiting longer for their operations.
For patients who choose to go ahead with surgery in the coming months, there are currently specific safety measures that must be adhered to. These are very restrictive for patients and all household members before and after surgery. These measures are outlined below:
- For patients and anyone else living in their household, there is a very strict period of self-isolation for 14 days prior to the date of surgery. This involves confinement to your house and garden at all times, with no visitors.
- All patients will be tested for COVID-19 72 hours before their planned admission. Any patient who tests positive will have to have their surgery delayed.
- Visitors will not be allowed into the hospital to accompany patients on admission or to see patients in the post-operative period.
- There will be a second period of 14 days self-isolation following discharge which also will apply to all household members.
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to expedite your surgery as safely as possible within the restrictions.