COVID-19 - Attending our Hospitals

Important Information for Your Safety  
          
Safe, Secure – Here for you

At the Northern Care Alliance, the safety of our patients, staff and visitors is our number one priority.

We thank you for respecting these important rules.

As COVID-19 cases rise across the country and with it rates of patients hospitalised with the virus it is crucial we do all we can to ensure the safety of our colleagues, our patients and everyone in our community.

Following the current increase in cases we are temporarily re-instating the requirement for anyone working or attending a clinical setting to wear a face mask (unless medically exempt).   This means: 

  • Face masks will be required in all clinical settings
  • Visitors to clinical settings will be asked to wear a face mask
  • Patients who can tolerate a face mask should be supported to wear a face mask
  • Mask wearing will remain under review on a weekly basis 

Clinical settings are defined as any area where a patient attends to receive treatment or a service.  This could be as a day-case, emergency attendance, in-patients, diagnostic settings, laboratories where patients may attend, patients’ homes, community clinics, theatres, or any other area that a patient may attend or receive treatment. Waiting areas (e.g outpatient departments, endoscopy waiting areas etc) are not usually considered a clinical setting  

We are once again asking everyone to help us to minimise the spread of the virus, taking precautions to keep themselves, their family and friends, and other members of their community safe, ensuring they are fully vaccinated, letting fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meeting outside, and considering wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces. 

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Only one relative or household member can accompany you in the A&E department in any of the circumstances below:

  • They are with a patient receiving end of life care
  • They are a parent / responsible adult visiting a child
  • They are supporting a patient with mental health or learning disabilities
  • They are a birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour

Please register with A&E reception and remain there until you are seen by a clinician.

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  • Please use the main hospital entrance for all appointments. Do not use separate staff entrances
  • You must have your patient appointment letter and form of ID with you at all times
  • You will not be able to bring anyone else into your appointment with you, unless you require a carer  
  • Greater Manchester healthcare system has announced that hospitals across the region will now start to resume non-urgent surgery and appointments. Read more about the resumption of non-urgent surgery.

On 8 February 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement published the Delivery Plan for Tackling the COVID-19 Backlog of Elective Care.

The plan sets out how the NHS will tackle the COVID backlog in the months and years to come by increasing health service capacity, prioritising diagnosis and treatment, transforming how elective care is provided, and providing better information and support to patients.

Frontline NHS teams have provided expert care to more than 600,000 patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, however, despite these efforts, dealing with the pandemic has impacted the amount of planned care the NHS has been able to provide, resulting in longer waits for many patients.

Nationally 6 million people are now on the waiting list, up from 4.4 million before the pandemic, and estimates also suggest over 10 million patients did not come forward for treatment when they may have needed it during the pandemic.

The Delivery Plan sets out how the NHS will tackle the elective backlog in the months and years to come.

Testing is key, and the NHS will deliver nine million more tests and checks per year by 2025, which is an increase in capacity of a quarter compared with the three years prior to the pandemic - 95 percent of patients will receive a test within six weeks of referral.

By March 2024, 75 percent of patients will either have a diagnosis or have their cancer ruled out within 28 days of being urgently referred by their GP. By March 2025 no patient will wait more than a year for elective surgery by March 2025.

My Planned Care

A new My Planned Care website is due to go live in February. This will provide greater transparency to patients on waiting times. Using the website you will be able to check the waiting list size and average waiting times by specialty and get advice about managing your health whilst you wait.

Any patients with health concerns are advised to continue to come forward for help and treatment in the usual way, using their local Emergency Department only for serious illnesses or injuries. NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do by calling 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.

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At the start of the pandemic, we had to introduce visiting and support restrictions to ensure the safety of the women and babies in our care.

This was understandably upsetting for many at such a significant moment in their lives.

This guidance has been regularly reviewed and we now feel it’s appropriate to relax some of the restrictions. We’re pleased to be able to welcome more people into our unit, all of whom must follow this advice:

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Translated maternity safety advice materials

We are pleased to say that we are now at a point where we feel it is appropriate to relax our visiting restrictions as follows:

Scans

  • With effect from Monday 21st December women attending for their dating or 12 week scan can now attend with their partner / support person.
  • Women attending the early pregnancy unit can also attend with their partner / support person.
  • We are asking that patients do not bring children to scan appointments as we are unable to provide a safe space for them.

Antenatal visiting

  • Women who are inpatients on the antenatal ward can have one visitor per day between the hours of 4pm and 8pm with immediate effect.

Inductions

  • Birth partners can now accompany women when they attend for an induction and remain with them whilst the initial induction of labour process is undertaken (approx. 2 hours) after which they will be asked to leave. They can then visit during the hours of 4pm and 8pm with immediate effect.
  • Currently we are unable to facilitate birth partners staying overnight on the ward during the induction process. Birth partners are able to return to the hospital at the point at which women move to the birth centre or labour ward.

Antenatal clinic at the hospital (Oldham and Rochdale)

  • From Monday 4th January 2021 partners or support persons can attend for the booking appointment and for any appointment where the plan is to be discussed about how the baby will be born.

Guidance for all women attending our maternity unit

In order to maintain the safety of all women and staff within the maternity unit we would like to highlight the following:

  • Visitors should be a member of your household bubble
  • The same visitor should be supporting you throughout your pregnancy journey
  • We would ask that you do not bring children with you to any scan appointments or onto the wards
  • Masks must be worn at all times by visitors
  • Women and visitors must regularly wash/sanitise their hands and you will be asked to gel their hands on arrival at the hospital.
  • Visitors should not attend if they have any symptoms of Covid19
  • Visitors should not attend if they have been advised to self-isolate.
  • Visitors should ensure they maintain the appropriate social distance 2m from others

Further planned changes

These are the first in a number of relaxations in visiting we intend to make over the coming weeks.

We hope in the new year to support partners / support persons to attend the anatomy scans and for longer during the induction of labour process.

On behalf of all the maternity team we would like to thank our local communities and families for their patience and we will continue to update you in the new year about further relaxations of our visiting policy. Thank you.

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The NHS vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. Thanks to the thousands of people involved, in just three months the health service in England has given the vital first vaccine dose to more than half of all adults , opened more than 1,600 vaccination services, and visited over 10,000 care homes.

Take-up of the vaccine has been strong; nine out of 10 people aged 65 and over have already taken up their first dose. 

Everyone in the top nine priority groups is now eligible to book theirs, and millions of people have done exactly that over the last few weeks.

So if you are in an eligible group – meaning you are 50 or over, have a health condition that puts you at greater risk, or are a health or social care worker – and you haven’t booked your first dose yet, the time to do so is right now. 

It’s quick and simple to book at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119, and the vaccines are safe and effective. 

If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it’s really important that you attend it as planned. 

The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need to get a second dose, so we are urging people to come back when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked.

Millions of people are already benefiting from protection from the virus and we are seeing this result in the welcome fall in infections and hospital cases. 

But NHS staff are still having to work hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as providing care for everyone who needs it. 

So we need the public to continue to play their part too:

  • unless you are in the groups being invited now, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time; 
  • please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose;
  • and whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives

Infection Control Icon.pngFor general advice on what to do if yopu expect you have Covid-19 - click here

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