FAQs – Operational questions

Last updated: 25.03.2020

Q –Are we taking down outpatient appointments in community?

A – Currently all clinicians are reviewing the next 6 weeks worth of clinics to identify patients to need face to face/video consultation, and those that can have telephone appointments and patients are being contacted accordingly.


Q –  What preparations are in place for pharmacy support ? 

A – The pharmacy team are currently business as usual, but the team have updated their business continuity plan and are fully prepared. They have been working with the ICU team to set up their stock list for COVID-19, if they need to expand to other areas of the hospital.


Q – Are we still treating routine patients?

A – Every morning we have a 9am meeting where staff from the cells working on this incident meet and discuss the guidance we’re receiving. Following national guidance, we are taking a phased approach to taking down non-time critical work.

We are keeping track of patients whose care is being stepped down, which will help us be in the best possible position when we start planning our return to business as usual.


Q – How are we going to treat patients who require time-critical treatment e.g. cancer patients?

A – National guidance is being issued for treating cancer patients which the Trust will adhere to. We are working with specialties to identify critical work, with clinicians actively risk assessing patients. We will support the continuation of this critical work as much as possible, and will be considering off site options. We are looking at other ways to maintain patient contact as much as possible, including digital solutions.


Q – When will normal clinical activity start again?

A – It is difficult to say when we will return to ‘normal’ clinical activity as this will depend on how the pandemic evolves.


Q – What advice are we giving to visitors to NDHT? Are all areas of the Trust going to be following the same guidance? As a senior nurse I want to be really clear on the decisions I am making and communicate that clearly.

A – We have issued visitor guidance (Trust website, social media and posters around NDDH) and these rules apply right across the Trust at the moment. The one point where we will try to consider people’s wishes around visitation is for end of life patients.

We are taking these measures to protect patients, staff, and visitors. If you have challenges with getting visitors to comply with this, please escalate to the COVID-19 Co-ordination Cell – ndht.majorincident@nhs.net or on 01271 314004 (ext 4903).

For patients with confirmed coronavirus – we are discussing visitation at the moment.


Q – We have limited side rooms where we can isolate patients – what is our plan?

A – Infection control are responsible for the prioritisation of side rooms. Currently coronavirus test results are coming back to us quite quickly, which is allowing us to move non-COVID patients quickly into ward beds.

Once we get confirmed cases we’ll move to cohorting, but we will need to carefully manage this to separate suspected cases from confirmed cases. The Trust has a well-developed plan for managing COVID and non-COVID patients.


Q – Are we increasing bed washing?

A – Yes, we are working with Sodexo to facilitate extra cover at night, and extra cleaning of door handles, flushes etc. and other extra touchpoint cleaning across NDDH. We will look to adapt as the situation evolves.


Q – I rely on public transport to get to work. What am I meant to do?

A – What we’ve seen internationally is that public transport has continued to be available but has been limited to healthcare workers. We are anticipating it being available. Please follow infection prevention and control guidance relating to travelling to and from work i.e. hand washing and uniform guidance. Should public transport cease the Trust will review the options for staff to get to work.


Q – Is face-to-face teaching and training being cancelled?

A – We have taken down as much non-essential training as possible. We have stepped down the majority of mandatory training – but are carrying on with key clinical training e.g. IV, cannula.


Q – Are non-essential meetings being stood down?

A – Yes, they are being stood down gradually. All Governance meetings have been stood down for the next two weeks and will be reviewed at that point for the longer term.

Last updated: March 25, 2020