05:06PM, Tuesday 26 May 2020
Hospital services such as cancer treatment and day surgery which were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic are now able to resume.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust announced today (Tuesday) that COVID-19 pressures on the trust is 'gradually reducing' which means it can increase the number of procedures it provides.
The Trust, which runs Wexham Park Hospital in Slough and Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, says special arrangements have been made so that more outpatient, diagnostic, endoscopy and surgical services can be provided.
Priority will be given to the most urgent work such as cancer diagnoses and treatments.
The Trust says as coronavirus is likely to be widespread in the community for the foreseeable future, services will have to be delivered in different ways.
Extra safety measures will be put in place to reduce risks such as social distancing, video consultations and testing for staff and patients.
Much of the care will be delivered at different locations and Heatherwood Hospital will open as a 'non-covid site' for planned surgery.
Endoscopy is also starting at Heatherwood and at Spire Clare Park Hospital, near Farnham.
Separate zones for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients within A&E and other clinical areas will remain in place.
Other urgent diagnostic procedures such as radiology will be provided away from busy hospital sites where possible and outpatient activity will be increased - with direct contact minimised.
This means that some patients will go straight to test rather than see a specialist and there will be more video consultations with GPs and hospital consultants.
Hospitals, GPs and community services will continue to work together to design services that are safe and accessible, for example by reconfiguring waiting areas, delivering care across different sites, asking patients to remain in their cars until called and shielding more vulnerable patients.
However the type and scale of healthcare services may have to be reconsidered if there is an increased demand due to COVID-19.
Dr Timothy Ho, medical director at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am so proud of how everyone across the whole health and care sector in our community has pulled together effectively to face the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to provide other vital care when it has been needed.
“We can now start to focus on those people most in need whose care has been put on hold while we responded to the immediate pandemic threat.
"At the same time, we should remember COVID-19 remains prevalent and we must stay alert to a rise in infection rates in our community.”
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