03:54PM, Monday 08 June 2020
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust was treating around 240 patients for coronavirus last month, a new update has revealed.
By the end of the last week this figure had reduced to 80 COVID-19 positive inpatients.
The trust, which runs Wexham Park, Heatherwood Hospital and Frimley Park said that 900 patients have been discharged in total who had recovered from coronavirus.
It added that 350 patients have died across the three hospitals after testing positive for the virus.
A statement said: “The initial peak is behind us, but we are experiencing a long ‘tail’ of cases that we expect to remain for months to come.
“Thankfully the number of inpatients and new admissions from COVID-19 has fallen away significantly from the peak of mid-April but we don’t yet know how long it will be before we will return to anything like our previous activity levels for other services. Planning continues for a potential 'second peak' of COVID-19 infections.”
The trust said staff absence from illness and self-isolation was running at triple the normal staff sickness rate but is now getting better.
One cause for concern was the number of people coming to A&E had been half that of previous years, ‘suggesting that people are staying away because they are either concerned about the risk of infection or worried about putting pressure on services.’
The trust has urged people to use emergency departments if they are concerned they are seriously unwell.
It adds: “Our emergency departments are safe, and we would much rather treat you promptly than leave it too late. And if a child needs care, a parent or guardian will be allowed to stay with them throughout, with PPE if required.”
All patients are tested on admission and again after 14 days if they initially tested negative.
Patients are triaged and segregated to different zones to keep suspected COVID-19 patients separate from other patients.
Symptomatic staff are also tested and screening tests are provided to staff who work in elective surgery areas to keep the risk of infection as low as possible.
Last month the trust announced some services would now resume such as cancer treatment, however the trust said the challenges posed by coronavirus were still ‘very significant’ and it could only do this ‘cautiously’.
It will not be running the full elective and diagnostic services for ‘a long while yet’ as the NHS remains on an ‘emergency footing and must be prepared to rapidly redeploy resources again in the event of a second surge’.
It adds: “We don’t yet know how long COVID-19 will be endemic in our communities, or whether we will see future surges or changes in the disease. Until this becomes clearer, we have to remain agile and flexible so that we can rapidly scale up COVID-19 services again should we need to.”
Top Ten Articles