As more and more services and clinics start up again, measures are being put in place at Harrogate District Hospital to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19 infection. The measure, in areas including Outpatients, Day Surgery and Endoscopy, are also in place to provide assurance to patients that the environment is as safe as possible for them to come and receive care. Hospital staff are also making it clear that nobody should come for their appointment if they are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
In Outpatients, on the day of someone’s appointment, they are asked to use the Main Entrance of the hospital on arrival, where they will be provided with a face mask and hand sanitizer. They will then be directed to the department they need to attend. On presenting there, as a precaution they will be asked some key questions about showing signs of Covid-19 symptoms or if they have been shielding.
Consideration has been given to the Outpatient environments to ensure that social distancing can be maintained in waiting areas and a signposted one-way system is in place where possible. This does mean fewer patients can be accommodated at any one time, so patients are asked to only arrive at the hospital 10 minutes before their appointment time.
In many of the Outpatient clinics, each patient will likely see their appointments alternative between face-to-face and virtual. It is important that patients check their appointment letters carefully to ensure they are not travelling to hospital unnecessarily.
Issie Macniven, Matron for Outpatients, said: “Our aim is to ensure the safety of our patients and staff as we start to increase the number of clinics running each day. We have mask stations set up with handwashing facilities and have altered the waiting rooms to accommodate social distancing rules.
“We ask patients to please check their appointment letters carefully, as some appointments now will be telephone calls. Also, if you are unable to attend, please ring the Appointment Centre to let us know as soon as you can. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Day Surgery & Endoscopy
A dedicated, separate entrance for people coming to Harrogate District Hospital to have a Day Surgery procedure is one of several new measures being brought in to help to protect patients and staff.
Patients will be pre-assessed over the phone and asked to isolate at home for 14 days prior to their procedure. During this time, they will be swabbed for Covid-19 and if negative can continue isolating. If the test is positive, then their procedure will have to re-arranged.
On the day of someone’s appointment, they will be asked to come to a specific Day Surgery car park, where staff in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will come to meet them at their car. Each patient will then have their temperature taken and symptoms checked, as a precaution. The patient will then be given a mask and escorted into the Day Surgery department by staff, and won’t have to touch any doors, buzzers, etc, on the way in.
Later in the day, on discharge, patients will be escorted back to their car/lift home. After their operation, each person will be asked to shield at home and will be given information to help them to do this.
The environment of Day Surgery has also been considered. It has the advantage of waiting areas, the operating theatre and the recovery ward all being together, so there is no need for patients to go to other parts of the hospital. The whole unit will be deep cleaned every week, on top of the regular thorough cleaning that takes place there.
A similar process is being put in place for Endoscopy appointments, which start up again on Monday 15 June.
Staff in both areas will have their temperatures taken at the start of every shift, on top of what we tell all colleagues to do in terms of isolating if they or anyone in their household are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Richard Dalton, Matron for Day Surgery and Endoscopy, said: “Our aim is to minimise, as much as possible, the risk to patients and staff but also start up much needed services again. We are here to provide care for people who need it, following a rigorous, consistent process in ‘self-contained’ areas.
“We are prioritising the most urgent cases first and are already in touch with patients. This work is being led by our Consultants so it’s a medically-led process.
“We understand that complying with the isolation period both before and after a procedure will be a challenge for people but we must stress that it’s a really important part of what needs to happen.”