Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Last updated: 21st May 2020. All information accurate at this time.
GUIDANCE FOR VISITORS
Visiting is suspended with immediate effect and until further notice. Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding at this challenging time.
The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer –will be permitted to visit are listed below.
• The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.
• You are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour.
• You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.
We ask that you should only visit patients on our hospital sites in these exceptional circumstances if you are not self-isolating and are currently well. Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements. We understand that this will be upsetting and are very sorry for any distress that this may cause. However, your health, safety and wellbeing, and that of our patients, communities, individuals, and teams across the organisation remain our absolute priority. Please find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones in hospital, like phone and video calls. Everyone should follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.
GENERAL ADVICE AND INFORMATION
Advice is updated on a daily basis. For the most up to date please visit nhs.uk or www.gov.uk. Please DO NOT attend any appointment if you have symptoms (a new, continuous cough OR a high temperature OR a loss or change in your sense or smell or taste) or you are self-isolating with a family member. Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice.
The WWL Maternity service remains open, however, we have been required to make some changes to how we see women, specifically in Antenatal Clinic and the community. If you are due to be seen by a midwife or have an Antenatal Clinic appointment one of the Midwifery team will be in contact with you. Some appointments will be done via phone, however some will go ahead but prior to this a midwife will call you. We appreciate you may be feeling anxious and have some very specific questions so please in the first instance contact your own Midwife her number is on the front of your green notes, if she is not available please contact the community hubs.
Leigh – 01942 264004
Wigan South – 01942 481487
Wigan North – 01942 433602
Ashton – 01942 482476
Thomas Linacre Clinic Outpatients and Scan – 01942 774778
Maternity Triage – 01942 778628
If you think you are in labour or have any concerns about you or your baby please call Maternity Triage as usual and a midwife will be available to advise you. To assure you, the maternity services remain on site at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary. We appreciate your patience at this time.
Visit www.rcog.org.uk for the latest guidance.
All antenatal classes, hypnobirthing classes and breastfeeding support groups have been cancelled until further notice. Please see visiting information above – there is currently no visiting on the postnatal ward.
Infant Feeding Team
This team is still available on the Maternity and Neonatal units to support mothers. However the amount of visits has decreased. Mothers can still receive infant feeding support from the virtual clinic which is run by our Infant Feeding Coordinator.
This can be accessed by using the following URL: https://nhsattend.vc/WWLInfantfeeding or by ringing 07384459308 or 07384459308 for further information or support.
MACMILLAN INFORMATION AND SUPPORT CENTRE
The Macmillan Information and Support Centre is currently closed for face to face consultations. This applies to the Wigan Infirmary site and the Thomas Linacre Centre. The service is still open for telephone consultations on 01942 822760.
Breast Screening Services
Breast screening has now resumed. Eligible women whose appointments were paused will be invited for their breast screening appointments first. Some eligible women may find that their appointments have been delayed due to the pause of breast screening after COVID-19.
Self-referrals for women aged over 70yrs are now currently suspended due to the impact of COVID-19. If you have any concerns about changes in your breasts please seek further advice from your GP.
OUTPATIENT APPOINTMENTS, X-RAYS, SCANS AND OTHER CLINICS
Most routine outpatient activity, x-rays and scans are being postponed or rearranged. Urgent appointments, x-rays and scans, and cancer clinics will continue. Many clinics will also continue to take place, by telephone or video call. All patients will be informed directly of changes to their outpatient clinic or scans.
Sleep Medicine Department
Contact 01942 773096
Please be advised the Sleep Service remains operational for all current service users. Whilst staffing is reduced and we observe social distancing only patients requiring urgent replacements will be able to collect equipment. All routine replacements will be posted and there may be a slight delay for clinician enquiries. Please contact the service and leave a message if you are unable to get through to a member of the team.
We appreciate your ongoing support and cooperation.
Planned care and Operations
We will continue to ask patients to attend face-to-face services only when it is really necessary. Where possible, appointments will be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation. Please be patient and wait to be contacted but speak to your GP if symptoms worsen, all patients expecting to have scheduled surgery will be informed directly.
If you do need to attend hospital for planned (non-emergency) care, you will be asked to take some steps to ensure you can get the care you need in an environment that keeps you safe, as well as staff and other patients.
• Admissions (including day surgery): if you are being admitted to hospital, you and any members of your household will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days prior. Where possible, you may be asked to complete a test within 72 hours before going to hospital. [insert details on local methods of testing]. If you are unable to isolate effectively or be tested before coming to hospital, your admission may be rescheduled. This will be determined by your care team using clinical judgement and in consultation with you. Our admissions team will give you all the information you need when booking you.
• Outpatient appointments: you should only attend your outpatient appointment if you have no symptoms of coronavirus. While at the hospital/service, it is important that you comply with normal social distancing requirements.
If you are currently shielding because you are at high risk of complications if you get coronavirus, but you need to come to hospital/other for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place. This might include [add any local details on this] and will be discussed with you in advance.
If you start to show symptoms of coronavirus or test positive while admitted to hospital/care, you will be immediately isolated to ensure the safety of other patients and staff.
If you or a loved one are going to care home or hospice after being in hospital you will be tested for coronavirus before you leave hospital. If the result of the test is positive, the care home will make arrangements to prevent the virus spreading to other residents or staff, following national guidance.
We are continuously monitoring what is happening with the coronavirus pandemic. All planned care is subject to developments in the pandemic response and appointments may need to be rescheduled.
Urgent and planned services in hospitals during COVID-19 FAQS
• Why do you need this guidance, have there been a lot of cases of coronavirus being transmitted in hospitals?
Preventing transmission of any infection within hospitals is a top priority and it is no different with COVID-19. The steps we are taking build upon and reinforce existing infection prevention and control measures which we know work and have successfully driven down rates of other hospital acquired infections in the past like MRSA.
• Are these measures enough to protect staff and patients from infection?
Our approach is deliberately cautious and all staff- clinical and non-clinical- will need to play their part, alongside patients understanding their own personal responsibilities. We are confident that the measures we have set out are the right ones based on the evidence, and we will rigorously and transparently monitor progress to be sure they are working.
• How soon after these measures are implemented do you expect patients to be able to access elective surgery?
Throughout this period, the NHS has been providing urgent and emergency care for patients, including urgent elective surgery. The measures we have set out today are about gradually and cautiously increasing the levels of non-COVID activity in our hospitals- activity levels will depend on local circumstances and how the COVID outbreak evolves over the weeks and months ahead.
• For patients going in for day cases that aren’t able to drive are we expecting trusts to look at patient transport? Local systems will need to put in place to arrangements to ensure that patients can safely access services.
• Are you expecting trusts to have “covid free” and “covid present” hosptials or sites if not, why not?
The measures we have set out require hospitals to put in place appropriate infection prevention and control measures to safely care and treat patients who are asymptomatic, have symptoms of COVID or who may be COVID+. As part of this, we have told local systems to ‘Maximise opportunities for creating physical and / or visible separation between clinical and non clinical areas used by patients on a Planned & Elective care pathway and those on an Urgent & Emergency care pathway.
• What does increasing planned care mean for testing capacity, PPE, and medicine supply?
Planned activity must align with other critical dependencies including- medicines supply, testing capacity, consumables, PPE, and staffing. As testing ramps up, and elective patient can increasingly be tested pre-admission this should have a positive impact on the quantity of PPE that may be needed.
• What does this guidance mean for primary and community care?
While this guidance is intentionally focussed on hospitals settings, including acute, community and mental health, many of the principles will be relevant to other healthcare settings and connecting services, including ambulance, primary and community care
• Do I need to get test before I come to hospital? If so how do I access a test?
If you are admitted to hospital through the emergency department you will be tested on admission by the hospital. If you are being admitted for planned care (including day surgery) you will be asked to isolate for 14 days before coming to hospital to reduce risk. Where possible, you may be asked to have a test within 72 hours of coming to hospital, which will be arranged locally.
• How quickly will I get my results? How do I find out my results?
Results are usually available 48 hours after being tested and will be sent via an SMS. For patients who are being tested pre-admission, the important thing is that results are available prior to admission.
• If I cannot get a test, will this impact if I can have the surgery / procedure / appointment?
The admissions team at your local hospital/service will advise of the requirements for your admission when booking you, including requirements for testing.
• If my result is negative / positive / inconclusive what does this mean?
This will need to be determined locally guided by clinical judgement and in partnership with patients.
• What does it mean if I test positive / negative and do/do not have symptoms?
This will need to be determined locally guided by clinical judgement and in partnership with patients.
• Can I get one of the new serology / antibody tests?
Access to antibody testing will be made available to NHS staff and patients when available and will help to build our understanding and knowledge of COVID-19 and inform the clinical approach.
• Can I get a test if I am asymptomatic?
Additional capacity for routine testing of asymptomatic staff in frontline roles will support infection prevention and control measures.
• Does my whole house need to isolate for the 14 days?
For admissions and day surgery, unless you are able to isolate from your household effectively, your whole household is asked to isolate for the 14 days.
• What do I do if someone in my house starts to show symptoms?
Contact your service and inform your care team immediately. Next steps will be determined by your care team based on clinical judgement and in partnership with you.
• How do I prove I have isolated for 14 days?
You will not need to prove that you have isolated for the 14 day period, however isolating helps to ensure your safety and the safety of staff and other patients, so we will rely on patients following the correct procedures as advised by their care team.
• Do I need to isolate after my surgery / procedure / appointment?
Your clinician will advise what steps you may need to take post-surgery or admission.
• Will I be eligible / sent for support while isolating before planned care? Anyone who is booked in for planned care and needs to isolate prior can self-refer for support from the NHS volunteer programme. They can do this by calling the NHS Volunteer Responders helpline Tel: 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm. You can also find more information about the programme at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk.
If you are in self-isolation or are shielding yourself and you don’t have the support of family and friends but you need help with non-medical issues, there is also support from Wigan Council. They have set up a dedicated helpline. Call them on 01942 489018 or fill in an online ‘Self-isolation Welfare Support’ form.
Infection prevention and control
• Where can I find more information on infection prevention and control guidance?
National IPC guidance has been published and is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control.
• Do staff still need to social distance?
The guidance emphasises the importance of social distancing inside and outside of clinical areas where possible e.g. on breaks, in communal areas.
• What does this mean for PPE?
Staff will need to use the appropriate level of PPE in line with the latest guidance from Public Health England.