A roadmap of plans has been issued by NHS England, further detailing its plans to restore services following COVID-19 lockdown.
As the number of patients in the UK requiring emergency care for COVID-19 infections begins decrease, plans have been drawn-up to assist local healthcare trusts in increasing routine operations and appointments, following the restriction of services during the initial stages of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The framework for re-installation is based around 5 principles, in order to limit the further impact of COVID-19 on patients and healthcare workers:
- Careful planning, scheduling and organisation of clinical activity
- Scientifically-guided approach to testing staff and patients
- Excellence in infection prevention and control
- Rigorous monitoring and surveillance
- Focus on continuous improvement
This builds on previous guidance to local NHS organisations issued over the last two-and-a-half weeks. As such, patients who require clinically important planned procedures should now be scheduled for appointments. However, in order to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 whilst in hospital, patients are to be tested for COVID-19, or should self-isolate for 14 days before their procedure, and report any symptoms before admittance.
Moreover, those appointments which can be conducted by video or phone should happen remotely, and those attending walk-in clinics, such as accident and emergency departments, should adhere to social-distancing rules.