All Staff Update, Friday 31 July 2020

In this edition:

  • NDHT figures at a glance
  • New travel rules
  • New self-isolation guidance
  • Staff risk assessments
  • Antibody testing
  • Compassion for staff who’ve been shielding
  • COVID-19 symptoms app
  • Tip for helping hearing-impaired patients
  • Redesign and long term recovery programme
  • Raleigh Galley in discount scheme
  • ODP training
  • Cyber-crime webinars
  • Outreach service unavailable
  • Free fitness app
  • Thank you: cardiac support service

Update from the COVID-19 Co-ordination Cell

NDHT figures at a glance

14-day isolation after travel – end to exemption for health and care staff

Current government regulations on international travel came into force in July 2020.

Further rules will come into effect from today (Friday 31 July) that removes the exemption provision for registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from a non-exempt (high risk) country.

From today registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from high risk countries will lawfully be required to self-isolate for 14 days. They will no longer be exempt.

Full travel and quarantine guidance is available here on the COVID-19 pages.

Please ensure that you read the guidance fully and consider the risks associated with any international travel at this time.

Change to COVID-19 self-isolation guidance

Following an announcement from the Government yesterday people who test positive for Coronavirus or show symptoms in the UK must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

More information is available here on

Have you completed your online risk assessment yet?

Our online risk assessment form is now live and available here

We ask that all staff complete their own risk assessment online this week which will then generate a risk score for that individual.

It is particularly important that we understand the risks for our staff who are:

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME)
  • White European ethnicity aged 60+
  • Male
  • Underlying health conditions (Hypertension, CVD, DM, CKD, COPD, Obesity)
  • Pregnancy

If an employee is low or moderate risk their line managers will be informed of this score.

If an employee has a high or very high risk score their line manager will receive a link and be asked to complete the work place questions and discuss any relevant actions required.

Antibody testing

NDHT undertook a six week antibody testing programme during June and July, this finished on Friday 17 July. This testing is helping to build a picture of the spread of COVID-19 in our local area and across the country.

As of Friday 24 July 71% of NDHT staff had been tested which is a great figure. We think this will increase slightly over the coming weeks.

The information for positive staff has been reviewed by the contract tracing team who are working with individual teams that have had a higher than expected positive rate.

Thank you to all the staff involved in reaching this number, those who organized area and clinic testing across the acute and community sites, those who did the testing and the staff who processed the tests and results. It was a great team effort.

Compassionately helping colleagues return to work after shielding

Some of your colleagues have been shielding because they are more vulnerable than most people. It’s important to remember that they did this for their own personal safety, physical and mental wellbeing.

They may be feeling excited to see you again and get back to a sense of normality, they may be feeling apprehensive to return to work and still worried about their safety, or they may be feeling guilty as they haven’t physically been able to support the team like they would usually.

This guide will help you consider how you can compassionately and safely support them to re-join you in the workplace.

Put yourself in their shoes. We are all different and need different things. You know your colleagues best.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be extremely challenging for everyone. We are sure that those who have been shielding will have considered what it must have felt like to be working through the sometimes scary and constantly changing times of the pandemic.

As we start to welcome our colleagues back from shielding, we ask that you take time and try and imagine what it has been like for them during this time and consider what would make their transition back to work more comfortable

If you have any concerns around safety or for the wellbeing of your colleagues, remember to raise these concerns with your manager for support.

COVID-19 symptoms app launched

A new app has been launched which enables people to record COVID symptoms, which, in turn, allows the prevalence of the virus to be monitored across the country.

The Covid Symptom Study app was launched by a team from King’s College London. Four million people across the UK have so far downloaded it to their phones, and have been reporting COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis. This gives what is thought to be the most accurate estimation of COVID-19 prevalence by region across the UK.

By going to you can see the latest data for North Devon, or any other region in the UK. It is hoped that with greater numbers of people reporting symptoms, we will have a more accurate estimation of local prevalence and get an early warning for a possible second surge of coronavirus patients.

Full details of how to download the app onto your phone are given on the web link above.

Mask wearing and hearing impairment

Communicating with a patient who may have a hearing impairment can be difficult if you are wearing a face mask or covering, as it makes lip reading impossible.

A paramedic has come up with this idea – simply use the Google Live Transcribe or similar app on your phone, to allow everything you’re saying to the patient to appear in a readable form.

This is a simple but effective way of making communication easier for our patients.

Redesign and long term recovery

On 30 January 2020, national NHS leaders declared COVID-19 a serious, Level 4 incident. In response to this, the Trust made rapid, and large-scale, changes to services and developed new ways of working to prepare for a potential surge of critically unwell patients.

Although the last few months have been challenging, this has resulted in significant transformation at NDHT. There are far too many examples of redesign, innovation and teamwork to list. We would like to say thank you to every single member of staff for contributing to our achievements.

However, in relocating, changing or pausing our services, we increased waiting times for many elective patients. Extensive work is ongoing to restart our elective services but there is more to be done.

In order to help us, safely and effectively, resume elective services, prepare for the possibility of a second COVID-19 surge and a winter with COVID-19, and build upon the significant successes so far, the Redesign and Long-Term Recovery Group are overseeing the following work streams:

Inpatients – led by Andrew Davis and Sharon Hinsley.

ED attendances and emergency admissions are now returning to normal levels, the four main theatres are up and running as is the day surgery unit. However we are not operating at full capacity in these areas and the inpatient group are:

  • Looking at how we best manage blue and green areas at NDDH, maintaining a green core to the organisation and how to restart surgery and elective activity.
  • Meeting, in place of patient flow steering group, covering models of care e.g. progressing SDEC (same day emergency care) and acute admissions pathways.
  • Looking at previous and current discharge pathways to ensure we maintain flow through the hospital and into the community making best use of available resources.

Diagnostics – led by Sarah Johnson and Sam Wadham-Sharpe

Capacity within all diagnostic services has been affected by increased infection prevention control measures and social distancing requirements and primary care referrals are beginning to return to pre-COVID levels. Therefore the Trust is exploring additional capacity in the form of mobile CT and MRI machines, visiting teams to provide ultrasound, endoscopy and cardio-respiratory services alongside our internal teams.

Outpatients – led by Stuart Kyle and Heather Brazier.

The outpatients redesign group is making good progress in understanding our challenges and strengths and how we can best use the limited but highly valuable space that we have.

Some of our outpatient clinic space has needed to be re-purposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so fewer consultation rooms are available. There has been an exponential increase in the number of non-face to face consultations in comparison to pre-COVID-19 levels.

This has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients, and so we are very keen to continue with this good practice; not only do patients like it, but it has meant that fewer patients have had consultations delayed, and we keep the footfall on our sites as low as possible to maintain staff and patient safety.

The group have been working with Digital Healthcare Services to increase our digital ability to support clinical staff in being able to run non-face to face clinics from Community Hospital sites, offices or home.

Medium-term hospital reconfiguration

Work is in progress to understand the reconfiguration requirements to allow the Trust to deliver blue (COVID-19) and green (non-COVID-19) pathways across all services and the capital that will required to deliver the changes. Funding applications for capital work have been submitted and the Trust is waiting to hear the outcome.

Clinical Reference Group

The CRG are supporting all work streams to ensure that any service restart plans are clinically reviewed and led. This allows us to make sound long term decisions and strive for ambitious yet deliverable outcomes.

Some of the projects taking place as part of the Redesign and Long term Recovery programme include:

  • Continuing the telephone and video consultation projects which started pre-COVID-19
  • Modular build in ED to support patient flow through blue and green areas
  • Outpatient clinic room capacity review
  • Development of a patient portal to move away from paper outpatient letters to a combination of website portal and text message updates
  • Test of change for SDEC (same day emergency care) – second test to be carried out in August
  • Redesign of fracture clinic flow

We will continue to provide updates over the coming weeks.

Other news

Raleigh Galley takes part in government scheme

The Raleigh Galley is taking part in the Government backed scheme –  ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.

The main details of the scheme are:

  • 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner) take-away is not included
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • use as many times as you like.

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme. There is no minimum spend.

Free Hot drinks are still being offered and will not affected by the offer above.

Train as an operating department practitioner

Applications are now open for Birmingham City University’s two-year DipHE course in Operating Department Practice, delivered with the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter.

The programme combines theoretical and practical components, complemented with clinical placements in a range of specialities and settings.

Find out more at the Birmingham City University website.

Cyber-crime webinars

With more people now working from home, the South West Police Regional Cyber Crime Unit has decided to repeat its Cyber Awareness Webinars as they were so popular the first time round.

These 30-minute sessions focus on some of the most important aspects of Cyber Security and highlight the simple, effective ways you can protect yourself and your devices.

Aimed at all levels of staff across the NHS in the South West, and delivered in a non-technical way, whether you are a beginner, or just want to keep up to date with the latest advice, this series of webinars will help you build your cyber resilience. You can find full details on BOB

Outreach weekend service unavailable

Owing to the recommencement of resuscitation training, combined with staff shortages weekend outreach service will be unavailable from Monday 3 August 2020 until further notice.

Free fitness app for NHS staff

NHS employees can now have a free six-month subscription to WithU Training, a recently-launched fitness app.

This is an audio-led fitness app, where on-demand personal training is delivered by expert coaches. The free subscription will help you to experience the benefits of personal training, but in an approach that fits busy schedules and lifestyles.

To access this offer, simply register on their website using their NHS email and they will send a link to download the app and activate the free subscription:

Thank you: cardiac support service

Today’s thank you comes from Kimberley Endacott, cardiac rehabilitation specialist nurse.

She says: “Please could you include a thank you to the cardiac support service team who have gone above and beyond to make sure our vulnerable cardiac patients in North Devon are supported at home to avoid hospital admissions.

“As with all teams in our current position, assessing patients with ongoing health problems purely over the phone/internet to avoid the need to expose them in to the hospital environment has been a huge challenge. Our heart failure nurses are incredibly busy keeping patients safe at home and have had to tackle increasingly difficult clinical decisions over the phone to protect exposing vulnerable patients to a healthcare setting.

“Our arrhythmia team continue to provide a robust service as remotely as possible to ensure patient safety and identifying those most at risk to ensure they get the immediate attention required.

“Our cardiac rehabilitation team have completely remodelled our entire service to provide, what is currently, completely home based rehabilitation to decrease patients risks of further events and keep the waiting lists down so patients can and will continue to access early cardiac rehabilitation.

“Our indispensable admin team have been working from home to continue to support us, not to forget the tremendous support of the cardiology secretaries who have pulled together to help us when possible at NDDH.

“Lastly but by absolute no means least, our fantastic cardiology consultants who have continued to provide invaluable support to help us during these exceptional circumstances. I am incredibly proud of my team and thank each and every one of them for their resilience, advice and guidance to help us all to work remotely whilst remaining supportive and tight-knit during this unprecedented time.”


Posted in coronavirus.

Last updated: July 31, 2020