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Covid-19 updates

We continually update the information so please check within the individual tabs/areas for relelvant updates.

Over the past few months, the Trust has dedicated its efforts to responding to and caring for patients with COVID-19. This response from #TeamCDDFT and partners across County Durham and Darlington to the COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be tremendous. We were able to move at pace to change services first in preparation for the forecasted number of patients with COVID-19 and then transitioning to the management and treatment of those patients.

We have also been overwhelmed and humbled by the response and support received from our local communities. This has been shown in a number of ways nationally and locally not least in the form of many generous donations and gifts in kind to the Trust's Charity. This provided a huge boost to our workforce during an extremely difficult and challenging time.

During the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Trust, supported by partners across the health and social care sector and independent partners, continued to maintain urgent operations for cancer patients and emergency and non-elective pathways for non-Covid patients.

This has left the Trust well-placed to resume all urgent activities, and now routine elective operations, in line with national guidance.

Operational plans are now in development for all services working with partners across the health and social care system both locally and regionally.

The overriding principle is the maintenance of robust infection control and your safety.

In addition, it is vital that plans are flexible, so that the Trust can respond rapidly to any surge in activity from a second wave of Covid-19 or from patients with other urgent conditions.

We will continue to update these webpages with the latest information.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.


Friday 22 May 2020

Outpatient Appointments

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?

  • Clinic and waiting rooms will be improved to allow social distancing and reduce the risk of infection
  • We will carry out more consultations virtually using telephone and video appointments where clinically approproate and possible.

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 recommend.

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.

Endoscopy Services

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 Services.

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 resumed.

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 patients.

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

Breastfeeding Advice

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


  • If you are breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding as usual.
  • If you are mix-feeding, try to boost the amount of breastmilk baby is getting, by breastfeeding frequently and/or expressing your breastmilk.
  • Breastfeeding at night, responsive feeding and having frequent skin contact with baby all help to boost milk supply.
  • Breastfeeding and breast milk will help to protect your baby against infections
  • Constituents of breast milk help to boost baby's immune system and fight harmful pathogens.
  • If your baby is admitted to NNU expressed milk cannot be taken into the unit, please send expressed milk home to be stored and used at a later date.

Useful resources (leaflets & videos) to help with breastfeeding your baby:

Formula feeding

Public Health England (PHE) guidance

If you are breastfeeding while infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus)

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:

  • washing your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
  • avoiding coughing or sneezing on the baby while breastfeeding
  • cleaning any breast pump as recommended by the manufacturer after each use
  • consider asking someone who is well to feed your expressed breastmilk to the baby
  • If you are feeding with formula or expressed milk, sterilise the equipment carefully before each use.  You should not share bottles or breast pumps with someone else
  • You can find more information on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Public health England websites


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 baby's life.

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:-


Chris Tulip,         Specialist Midwife for Infant feeding    07825 218 949

Donna Orange    Infant feeding Midwife                           07803 150 595

Thursday 16th April 2020

Statement for 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 queries including:

-     Appointment questions about clinics, investigations and treatment

-     Health, wellbeing and community support signposting

-     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


Monday 30 March 2020

Community Hospitals

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 pandemic. 

Friday 27 March 2020

Outpatient Appointments

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.

Planned Surgery

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 for emergencies.

Emergency Departments

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.

Car parking

CDDFT staff and any essential visitors can now park free at our hospital sites.

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 pandemic.

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.


Patient transport

"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 self-isolation.

Visiting restrictions

"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 controlled conditions.

"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 home."


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