Some will have seen on the news in recent days that attendances nationally at A & E for April were down to 56.6% of normal, suggesting that people who needed treatment were not coming in. There is a similar concern as to stroke, cardiac and cancer patients.
The message, perhaps belated, now is: 'The NHS is open for business. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms or need treatment do contact your GP who will refer you or if it is an emergency come to the hospital.'
The management of Salisbury Hospital (and also its governors) has had these concerns for some while, but has been constrained in what it could do by National Guidance. Now all NHS systems and organisations have been asked fully to step up non-COVID urgent services over the next 6 weeks. The hospital wants further to assure its community that it is and has always been there for them: -
The Emergency Department is open and has been throughout
Maternity services continue (166 babies born in April)
Urgent surgery and two-week wait referrals have continued
Many outpatient appointments have been conducted by telephone or video (350 video consultations in April)
At the start of the epidemic the hospital set up wholly separate pathways for respiratory and non-respiratory patients, using wholly separate entrances to the hospital. 'We want to reassure that our hospital services are safe, with COVID and non-COVID pathways in place. That’s why we have been working with local GPS/primary care colleagues on a joint campaign to encourage people to attend.'
On 15 April the hospital had 44 COVID-confirmed patients; it now has 10. It had 60 non COVID in-patients; it now has 205.
The hospital is at the beginning of its return to pre-COVID service levels for non-urgent matters. Patients will be contacted as their services are reinstated. It is dealing with:
The testing on site of all inpatients
Social distancing eg in waiting rooms
The capacity of community services to look after patients after discharge.
But for matters that are urgent, the message is as set out at the start contact your GP or attend the hospital as appropriate
John Mangan Lead Governor and Elected Governor for the New Forest 19 May 2020