Changes to outpatient appointments at NNUH
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is introducing a number of changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with national guidance to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and help with social distancing for vulnerable groups, the Trust is reducing face to face outpatient consultations from next week and begin telephone and video consultations.
The Trust is asking patients and staff to minimise their movements around the hospital to reduce the risk of infection and to keep our patients safe we are asking people to avoid visiting hospital unless absolutely necessary.
The hospital will be separated into two zones which will be clearly marked:
Green – areas for treating patients without the virus
Yellow – areas for treating patients with positive and suspected Covid-19 symptoms
In line with well-established plans for situations like this, our hospital has been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas.
Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, and we will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.
Telephone or video consultations will take place for the majority of outpatient clinics for new and follow-up appointments from the week beginning 23 March.
Patient notes will be clinically reviewed and patients contacted to confirm the need for the appointment, and the most appropriate mode of consultation.
For any adult patients who continue to need to attend an outpatient appointment on the hospital site, we are asking them to attend alone if possible.
Sam Higginson, NNUH Chief Executive, said: “We are living in unprecedented times for the health service with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which has meant that we have advanced plans to carry out telephone and video consultations, which will reduce the risk to our patients and staff.
“Our teams have begun treating the first cases of COVID-19 and we are prioritising our response to the new strain of coronavirus and creating as much capacity as we can to cope with the increased demand.
“This means we have had to make some changes to the day to day running of the Trust and we will be cancelling routine work, which we appreciate will be disappointing to some patients.
“The safety of all our staff and our patients is paramount during these challenging times and we’d like to thank everyone for their support so far.”
To sustain our services and reduce the risk of infection to our staff, we are making arrangements for more employees to park on and around the NNUH site and avoid using public transport.
In these unprecedented times, we need to take additional and careful measures to keep our women and families safe. To follow the national advice and guidance that pregnant women should carry out social distancing, we have taken the decision to ask all women that are attending any maternity appointment in the community, hospital or for an ultrasound scan to attend unaccompanied. Following scans, women will be asked to go home to have a teleconsultation with the doctor.
We are sorry for any distress this may cause and understand how difficult this may feel, however your safety is our priority, and will support you at this time.