Mar 03rd 2020

Coronavirus: Public Information [Updated: 16/07/2020]

Visiting restrictions

In order to help keep both our staff and patients safe we have had to restrict access to our buildings. All entries are closed and access is only granted to the following people:

– Patients with booked appointments.

– Patients with emergency healthcare needs.

– Staff attending for work.

– Approved visitors: No visiting apart from one person for children, end of life patients, those who lack mental capacity and birthing partners.

– Approved and essential contractors and suppliers.

If you are not in these groups please do not come to any of our facilities.

Relatives are able to speak to their loved ones who are currently in hospital via phone or video link. To contact your relatives please telephone the relevant ward.

Supporting your recovery / Coronavirus discharge pack

Recovery from COVID-19 will take time. The length of time needed will vary from person to person and it is important not to compare yourself to others. Ongoing symptoms could last for several months after you contract COVID-19 and this can be perfectly normal.

Our NHS colleagues at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have produced a patient support website offering advice and guidance on your recovery journey. Here you can find information about what you can do to make recovery easier for yourself, both physically and mentally.

An information pack is also given to patients who leave our care after being tested positive for COVID-19, or with COVID-19 symptoms who are awaiting a test result. This pack describes how to manage symptoms such as breathlessness, guidance on isolation, managing stress and anxiety and who to contact for help. Click here to read.

Social distancing measures across the Trust

In order to maintain safety for both patients and staff we have in place across Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust various social distancing measures.

These include:

• Only having essential face to face contacts – lots of general consultations across the Trust have become virtual, either taking place via phone or video call

• Restricting visiting to reduce the number of people in the hospital (please see separate guidance on this).

• Screening patients for symptoms of COVID-19 when they enter parts of the Trust, such as the eye hospital–patients who report COVID-19 symptoms are seen in isolation, using separate facilities.

• Patients are offered masks on entry. These are a requirement to access the site.

• Patients are asked to sanitise their hands on entry, and throughout their time in the hospital. You will find dispensers on the walls throughout the building.

• Some areas of seating have been temporarily removed or taped off to enhance social distancing.

Please abide by any guidance supplied when on our sites, all measures are necessary to keep facilities and services operational and are for the benefit of everyone.

Maternity care

Maternity care during the coronavirus outbreak

We understand that you will be worried about what Coronavirus means for you and your baby and we are doing all we can to help keep you, your baby and your family safe.

We are following updated guidelines on your appointments to ensure you continue to have the maternity care you need while reducing the risk from contacting Coronavirus. This means that you may have fewer face-to-face visits with your midwife and some of your appointments may be over the phone including your first booking appointment.

It is still very important that you attend any face–to-face appointments if you are requested to do so or take part in any telephone appointments. If you have a high temperature or a new persistent cough please ring for advice before you attend a face-to-face appointment.

If you need to attend hospital for an appointment (including for a scan) you will need to attend alone. No visitors are allowed on any of our antenatal or postnatal wards including the baby’s father. One birth partner is allowed during birth, but this must be the same person throughout and they will need to leave two hours following the baby being born.

If your baby is admitted to the Neonatal Unit one parent is allowed to visit and we ask that person to bring food etc. with them (the staff will heat it up for you if need be) to minimise the number of times you enter and leave the unit. Please follow the instructions on washing your hands before entering and leaving the unit. We have introduced a new system called vCreate which is an NHS Trusted Secure Video Messaging service that enables the nursing team to send you short videos and photos of your child, during those times when you’re unable to be on the unit.

Read our leaflet below for more information:

Read the leaflet in the following languages:

Bengali Kurdish Punjabi Romanian Tigrian Urdu

You can find a rundown of the modified maternity pathway here.

SWBH Maternity Coronavirus information line – 07811 715002
SWBH Maternity Coronavirus email: swbh.maternitycovid@nhs.net

Access to GPs and repeat prescriptions

GP practices are still available to contact

GP practices are available to phone as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak, even on Bank Holidays and should be contacted first before coming in to A&E unless it is an emergency.

Practices have changed how they operate some services and in some cases may ask you to attend another local practice for your appointment.  Care continues. If you do need to see a doctor outside of COVID-19 concerns please contact your GP practice for advice at the earliest opportunity. Please also arrange with them, as you usually do, your repeat prescription and all appointments for your routine care.

POLISH | PUNJABI | URDU | ROMANIAN | BENGALI

Eye Casualty at BMEC

Eye Casualty at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre remains open and is seeing patients.

Any contact lens wearer who is experiencing eye pain, redness and reduced vision that doesn’t settle or gets worse over a 24 hours period must attend Eye Casualty. Anyone who has previously had corneal transplant surgery and is experiencing such symptoms should call the BMEC central helpline.

For any general queries relating to procedures/treatments at BMEC please call our helpline on 0121 507 4440.

Injection appointments at BMEC

IVT injections have continued throughout the COVID-19 crisis due to the importance that these patients receive this treatment to avoid irreversible sight loss.

If you are due to have an appointment related to receiving an injection please do attend. For any inquiries please call the BMEC helpline on 0121 507 4440.

Concerns

If you’re concerned about attending your hospital eye clinic appointment during coronavirus, the RNIB has created a short film. It features three Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) offering their tips on how to prepare, what to bring and what you might expect to happen when you arrive, along with alternatives to attending in person.  Additional information can be found here.

Cancer patients, diagnostics and treatment

We are continuing to provide services for two week wait referrals – both for diagnosis and the treatment of cancer – with some cases being carried out at different sites, including in local private hospitals.  GPs have been given updated guidance to ensure patients are given access to clinic or telephone reviews and onward investigations as appropriate.

We have also set up a helpline for patients and carers to contact us with any questions they may have around their cancer diagnosis and the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The number, for non-urgent enquiries, is 0121 507 3817 and is available from 10am until 2pm.

Cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment and have queries can call their treatment unit or the 24-hour emergency hospital helpline (Acute Oncology Service) on 07976 499140.

Scans and x-rays (Imaging)
For both patient and staff safety, we have prioritised diagnostic investigations for urgent cases and cancer related diagnostics with other non-urgent cases postponed and rescheduled. GPs practices have been informed of any affected patients. If you have any queries please contact your GP.
Planned surgical procedures

We are contacting all patients with planned procedures that we need to change. We continue to do urgent surgery and surgery for patients on two week wait pathways.

Outpatient appointments

Most routine outpatient appointments are now taking place by telephone or video phone. Your appointment will still take place but someone will telephone you instead. We will let you know if you need to be seen in person. For appointment queries in the please call our contact centre on 0121 507 4151.

I'm from a vulnerable group - where can I find more information about COVID-19?

As mentioned below you can find a lot of information about COVID-19 on both the NHS website and on GOV.UK, however there are also a number of resources on the Health Education England (HEE) website too.

HEE has produced a library of high quality COVID-19 patient information specifically for vulnerable groups, information in a more accessible format (easy read, sign language, Makaton, etc.), resources for older people, as well as resources for children and young people to help them better understand the virus and the changes that have been going on in the world around them.

Head to https://library.nhs.uk/coronavirus-resources/ to find out more.

Advice for parents during COVID-19

Whilst Coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-Coronavirus illness, rather than Coronavirus itself. If they require urgent or emergency treatment do not let this be a barrier to bringing them to hospital, we continue to take care of patients young and old outside of the pandemic. As do GPs and NHS 111.

Click here for some additional guidance on steps to take if your child needs medical care.

24/7 mental health helpline

It is only natural, with all that has been occurring, to experience some stress and anxiety. Particularly when you are isolating for long periods of time and are unable to do your usual activities.

If you do find that your mental health is being affected by the implications of Coronavirus, then please don’t suffer in silence. The Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have launched a new, 24/7 helpline which is open to residents of all ages across the Black Country and will give access to urgent mental health, learning disability and/or autism support.

The helpline is staffed by specialist mental health colleagues who will provide advice and can also direct you to other mental health services if these are required.

Please do not think you are alone. It is okay to not be okay – and if you aren’t, then please do pick up the phone and speak to someone.

Phone line details Call 03456 460827, available Monday – Sunday, 24 hours a day.
Press 1 in you live in Sandwell or Wolverhampton.
Press 2 if you live in Dudley or Walsall.

Existing service users are encouraged to maintain their existing service contacts. 

Coronavirus foreign language posters

English
Română/Romanian
Jezyk Polski/Polish 
Hindi
বাংলা/Bengali
Arabic / اللغة العربیة
Urdu / اردو
Shqip / Albanian
简体中文 /Chinese
Français / French
Kurdish Sorani  / کوردی سۆ رانی
Soomaali /Somali
Español /Spanish
Türkçe/ Turkish
Tiếng Việt/ Vietnamese

 

Following on from the announcement by the Government, please see the guidance for the general public here to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19). This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work

  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Anyone can spread the virus.

If you are worried about Coronavirus

The Coronavirus outbreak may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, helpless, overwhelmed, confused or angry. It’s important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently to different events.

You can find a number of tips to ease any anxiety and help your mental wellbeing here.

Testing

Testing will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.
Patients who require overnight admission to hospital should still be tested regardless of travel history if they present with
• either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia
or
• acute respiratory distress syndrome
or
• influenza like illness (fever ≥37.8°C and at least one of the following respiratory symptoms, which must be of acute onset: persistent cough (with or without sputum), hoarseness, nasal discharge or congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, wheezing, sneezing)
Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immuno-compromised.

NHS 111


Up-to-date information can be found on http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. We expect the health service to be exceptionally busy in the coming days and weeks. If people have serious symptoms that they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online. They should only telephone NHS 111 if they
cannot go online.

If you have to isolate, NHS 111 can provide you with an isolation note if one is required for your workplace.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus with further information available on nhs.uk.

Like the common cold, Coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel Coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

 


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