The Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire Hospital today put out a message to patients to reassure them it’s safe to attend for appointments and vital to keep the dates set for any planned surgery.
The move comes after clinicians at the hospital reported low numbers of people turning up for allotted clinic slots or operations that were put on hold during Covid-19. In one recent case, 200 people waiting for cataract surgery were contacted and told there were slots free, but just three took up the offer. Doctors are worried people with potentially life threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease and stroke symptoms, are also staying away amid fears of catching Covid-19.
Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are now almost a Covid free hospital with just seven positive patients being treated here at the moment. We’ve implemented major safety procedures to make sure our patients and staff are as protected as possible and we are very anxious that people who do need to come here for treatment do so.
“Our staff have been tested for Covid, we have strict social distancing rules in place, clinical rooms are thoroughly cleaned after each patient has been seen, everyone is wearing a mask or face covering, hand sanitisers are in place around the site, new rules on using the lifts are in place – everything possible has been done and I can reassure people they are in very safe hands when they come here.”
Guidelines about self isolating
Another issue which doctors think might be putting people off is confusion around self isolating. People booked in for an operation must isolate for 14 days along with the rest of their household. And when they are called in for a swab before their surgery, they are advised to avoid public transport as this effectively takes them out of the 14 day isolation period.
Full details of the current guidelines are on the Trust website: www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk.