Residents of all ages are being assured it’s safe for them to visit Walsall Manor Hospital for appointments or treatment if necessary as clinics are back up and running following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Clinicians say they know there are some patients who feel too anxious or concerned to attend, particularly if they are shielding, and they are urging them to reconsider before missing vital appointments or seeking help. Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Emergency Department is starting to see an increase in attendances but staff believe many are staying away from there too.
Joan Dyer, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Outpatients’ Matron said: “We do appreciate people’s worries which are entirely understandable given that we are still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“But we have organised our services to minimise the risk of people coming into contact with coronavirus and want them to know that we are here for them.
“Outpatient attendees are separate to those accessing other areas of the hospital so their contact with others is kept to a minimum. We ask patients to attend appointments alone unless there is an essential reason to bring someone with them and visiting is still restricted at the hospital.
“We have recently moved our chemotherapy unit for example so that patients who come in through the main entrance have just a short distance to go to receive their treatment, rather than walking through the hospital into the maternity services area. Associated clinics are now in this area for patients who need blood transfusions and other treatments. Our Medical Day Case Unit is in this area too.”
Ned Hobbs, Chief Operating Officer for the trust added: “We know that people will have seen images in the media of the pandemic at its height and these will have left them feeling extremely anxious.
“It has been a frightening time for our staff, patients and their families and sadly, many people have lost their lives. While we are by no means out of the pandemic there are far fewer confirmed cases of the virus in the hospital. As an example, at its peak we had more than 200 inpatients in the hospital who had tested positive – now we are down to less than 10.
“People attending appointments are now required to wear face masks and our staff wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment too. Patients can also help us by making sure they wash their hands and use the hand sanitiser provided, and avoid coming to hospital if they have any of the virus symptoms of a high temperature above 37.8, a new, continuous cough or loss of or change in their taste and smell, unless of course their condition is urgent.
“We are still observing two metre social distancing and everyone arriving at our Emergency Department is met at the door and asked if they have any Covid-19 symptoms. All patients who are admitted to hospital are tested now too. Where appropriate we are running virtual appointments but if a patient’s GP or hospital clinician advises them to attend hospital it is with good reason.
“Our message is clear – if you need us we’re here for you. Don’t be too afraid to seek help that could potentially save your life.”