Both University Hospital Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital are to reopen to patients needing non-essential surgeries as of today, June 1, after a “huge amount of work” has gone into making the hospital safe.
Patients will now be able to come in for elective procedures and surgeries, entering sealed-off parts of the two hospitals away from Covid-19 patients.
Daily screening for all staff and patients will be implemented to allow for ‘normal’ services to return, and the trust’s CEO has assured that frontline staff will be supplied with sufficient PPE.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust were forced to halt all non-essential procedures in early March in order to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which at the time threatened to overwhelm the NHS.
Hundreds of appointments and planned surgeries which weren’t deemed immediately life-threatening were cancelled.
But now, the trust’s chief executive Ben Travis has revealed that it is now past the first peak, and both its hospitals are now ready to open to elective procedures again.
As of today, Monday June 1, patients will be able to arrange appointments and surgeries at the hospital, with specific drop-off points for patients coming in for day case services.
These patients will come into parts of both hospitals sealed off from patients recieving treatment for Covid-19.
Mr Travis says this means a separate entrance and separate exit, meaning that you will not be coming close to Covid-19 patients during the visit.
The CEO said: “I know people are anxious. We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure both our patients and staff are safe, it’s our number one priority.”
To ensure the hospitals are safe, he explained that the trust had acquired sufficient personal protective equipment for all staff on the frontline, and those involved with elective procedures.
Also, all staff in elective areas will be screened daily as they come into work for any signs of symptoms of coronavirus.
Patients will also be screened when they come in, and those coming in for planned surgeries will be testing for the virus three days before the treatment.
“A huge amount of work has gone into preparing for this,” Mr Travis continued.
“I think we have some very robust processes and procedures in place, and we really look forward to welcoming patients back into the hospital for their elective procedures.”