Friday 22 May 2020
We are looking at how we continue to keep our patients safe from
COVID-19, and over the last few weeks we have had to reduce the
number of patients seen in clinics, and we are now in the process
of changing how we provide outpatients services.
How Outpatient Services will be different?
What happens next?
If you have an appointment scheduled, your case will be reviewed
by your specialist and we will let you know what they
For any future appointments, you will be advised and involved as
to how this will be carried out, including any transport
arrangements that you may require.
We are thankful for all of the support we have been receiving
from the public and our patients at this time and we ask you to
bear with us a while longer.
The Trust, as with the NHS nationally, has faced unprecedented
times in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and made a number of
immediate changes to support this response which included changes
to some patient pathways and services, which included Endoscopy
With regards to endoscopy services, the Trust's response was in
line with national guidance from the BSG released on 26 March when
the organisation paused all 2 week wait and BCSP endoscopies and
colonoscopies for an initial period of three months, with the
exception of emergency activity.
Similar to other trusts in the region, we have continued to
receive referrals and assess patients and place them on an Urgent
Deferred Waiting List during this COVID-19 period, clinically
prioritising patients for when services were able to be
On 30 May, further guidance was released advising trusts how
Endoscopy services could be safely restarted, and over the last two
weeks the Trust has been making the necessary arrangements to be
able to release staff who have been deployed to emergency activity
and COVID wards, making changes to the environments and increasing
time allocations for procedures to be able to support infection
control practices, and introducing pre-screening processes for
As this work has now been completed and we are assured that we
have the right measures in place to protect the safety of our
patients and our staff, we have been able to restart endoscopy
services as of Monday 18 May. We will continue to review services
as we work through this next phase of the COVID-19 response.
Information for Parents on infant feeding
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation trust is a UNICEF
Baby friendly accredited Trust and supports and encourages all
mothers to breastfeed their babies.
In Light of the current COVID 19 outbreak we would like to share
with all expectant and new parents a statement from UNICEF UK Baby
Friendly, please see attachment
To facilitate breastfeeding mothers and babies
will be encouraged to stay together as much as possible, have skin
to skin contact, feed their baby's responsively and to have access
to ongoing support
Useful resources (leaflets & videos) to help
with breastfeeding your baby:
Public Health England (PHE) guidance
If you are breastfeeding while infected with COVID-19
There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that
the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk. Infection
can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close
contact with you. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any
potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or
by being in close contact with your child; however this will be an
individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health
visitor, GP by phone.
If you wish to breastfeed, take precautions to limit the spread
of COVID-19 to the baby by:
It is recommended to responsively bottle feed
your baby; pacing the feeds and limiting the number of people who
feed your baby.
Useful information can be found here:
Accessing infant formula
Please see FAQs & information from First
Steps Nutrition Trust:
Parents should be advised that stage 1 formula/
first infant formula should be used throughout the first year of
If you cannot get your usual brand of first
infant formula - don't worry - you can use any first infant
formula. All first infant formulas have similar nutritional
compositions to comply with legislation.
For further support/ information, please contact
Infant feeding team:-
Midwife for Infant feeding 07825 218
Donna Orange Infant
07803 150 595
Thursday 16th April 2020
Women regarding Community Midwifery Services.
We want to make sure you and your baby are well during the
coronavirus pandemic and we are committed to providing safe and
personal maternity care. It is important that you have all the
information you need to help you to make informed decisions about
your maternity care.
Women who have coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms will be cared
for separately to women who do not have symptoms. This is to keep
everybody who uses our services as safe as possible.
CLICK HERE to read more.
Monday 6 April 2020
The Trust has launched a cancer patients helpline to offer
support and advice to our patients undergoing cancer care and
treatment. The helpline team will be pleased to assist with any
- Appointment questions about clinics,
investigations and treatment
- Health, wellbeing and community
- Non-urgent clinical concerns
The helpline is available on 01207 594466 between 9am-5pm
Monday to Friday or a message can be left for us out of hours. You
can also email us at email@example.com
Monday 30 March 2020
From today, Weardale Community Hospital, Richardson and
Sedgefield will open additional beds to support additional capacity
as part of the Trust's plans to manage services during the Covid-19
Friday 27 March 2020
All routine and non-urgent review appointments will be either
delivered virtually, delivered a different way out in a community
setting or put on hold (where safe to do so) over the coming weeks
or months to allow the hospitals to focus on emergency work and
emergency respiratory care.
If we need to change your appointment we will contact you
directly with information.
The Trust is unable to carry out any non-urgent elective
operations. This will mean that patients who may have already been
waiting some weeks will not receive their operation at this time,
and will be contacted again to recommence their care pathway as
soon as it is feasibly possible. Examples of procedures that
are unlikely to be done over the next 3 months or so are elective
joint replacements, cataracts and many others. Patients are being
contacted directly to advise them of the cancellation and/or the
cancellation of any planned diagnostics.
In line with advice from the British Society of
Gastroenterologists we have paused all 2WW and Bowel Cancer
Screening Programmes - endoscopies and colonoscopies for 3 months.
This means that no endoscopy procedures will be carried out except
To help safely manage all patients needing
emergency care, the Trust has introduced two streams coming into
the emergency departments - respiratory and non-respiratory - to
support the safe management of all patients. The respiratory stream
is for all Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 cases. There are two
separate entrances into the two different streams.
CDDFT staff and any essential visitors can now park free at our
Bishop Auckland Hospital
To increase our capapcity and support our plans for managing the
Covid-19 pandemic, we will be opening additional ward areas at
Bishop Auckland Hospital.
Wednesday 25 March 2020
CDDFT has made a number of temporary changes to some of its
services to ensure it is as prepared as possible to care for
patients requiring hospital admission due to the Coronavirus
Noel Scanlon, executive director of nursing at County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "We'd like to reassure our
local communities that we have plans in place and are well prepared
to be able to support them through this.
"Part of these plans includes using our hospitals in Darlington,
Durham and Bishop Auckland, and some of the wards within them, in a
different way. This will enable us to increase our capacity
to manage critical care patients and separate patients with
suspected Covid-19 from other patients. Our plan includes
increasing the number of beds in our community hospitals and
opening some additional beds and ward areas in Bishop Auckland
Hospital. At University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington
Memorial Hospital, we've introduced separate emergency department
areas for patients with respiratory problems to keep them separate
from other patients.
"In addition, like Trusts across the NHS, we're contacting
patients who have non-urgent planned operations and routine
outpatient appointments to let them know their appointment is
postponed. Emergency admissions, cancer treatment and other urgent
clinical care will remain unaffected and continue to go ahead,
wherever possible. We appreciate this will be disappointing
and worrying for those affected and this is not a decision we've
taken lightly, however we believe this is the best way for us to
support the patients already being admitted to hospital with
Coronavirus. We also anticipate that as the virus spreads,
some of our staff will become infected and need to self-isolate at
home and we need to ensure we can handle the anticipated increase
in patients requiring admission.
"We've contacted over 5,000 patients since the weekend, by text
if we have a mobile number, prioritising contacting those people
with appointments this week, in order to avoid them attending
hospital and leaving home unnecessarily. We apologise that in
the current rapidly changing situation this has meant short notice
and confusion in some cases - we're working to incredibly tight
timescales. We ask that people don't ring the hospital if
they've received a text already, just follow the instruction in the
text. We'll be getting in contact with them if there's any
further information they need to know at this time. We're following
up with phone calls and letters where possible. We'd like to
take this opportunity to say how grateful we are to our patients
and the public for their support and understanding.
"For patients whose appointment is still going ahead, non-urgent
patient transport services have also been suspended by the North
East Ambulance Service (NEAS) until further notice. This will
enable NEAS to support our hospitals to discharge more patients
well enough to return home and free-up the maximum possible
inpatient and critical care beds. A limited transport service will
continue for patients needing dialysis; chemotherapy, radiotherapy
and other cancer treatment at essential clinics across the region.
Patients who are concerned about their transport should contact
NEAS on 0300 111 0247.
Stay at home
"Our patients and the wider public are already showing enormous
support for our staff during this national emergency. The
best way to do this is to following the advice from scientists and
the Government to stay at home.
"We've had a lot of very generous offers from people keen to
help by bringing food in for our staff. We're enormously
touched by this generosity and kindness, however, bringing food to
hospital wouldn't be in line with the 'stay at home' advice.
We'd also like to assure everyone that we're making sure our
hard-working teams will have plenty of hot food and drink during
the days and nights ahead.
"If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, please stay at home and
don't come to hospital, your GP practice or any other NHS
facility. You don't need to ring 111 unless your symptoms
become a concern. If you have any symptoms, you must
self-isolate for seven days or longer if your temperature remains
raised. Any other members of your household need to
self-isolate for 14 days and for seven days if they develop
symptoms, regardless of where they are in the initial 14 day
"Over the last couple of weeks we have restricted visitors to
one per patient. In light of the current guidance for people
to stay at home, we have made the difficult decision to suspend,
with immediate effect, visiting to our adult wards and restrict
visiting to our children's wards to one parent only. Maternity
units are restricted to one birthing partner only with no visitors
to post-natal wards.
"Ward sisters will have some discretion in extremely sensitive
circumstances to grant one visitor by arrangement under carefully
"We're all in this together during these unprecedented times but
we're prepared and ask our local communities for their
understanding as we make these difficult decisions - and to stay at
Information for Primary Care colleagues - Pathology
'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after
and very impressed.'
Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital