As part of the Trust's preparation and response to the COVID-19
Pandemic, we had to make some changes to the operations and surgery
we have been able to perform over the past three months.
Although the Trust was able to continue providing urgent and
emergency surgery, as well as cancer treatment, outpatient
appointments and non-urgent operations were cancelled in March to
protect the NHS and create enough intensive care capacity for those
with the most severe form of the virus.
We would like to apologise to every patient whose treatment has
been on hold while we respond to the pandemic and we thank them
sincerely for their support and understanding.
We know many of our patients have waited - and will continue to
wait - far too long and we are sorry about that.
Our priority is patient safety and we are doing a huge amount of
work to ensure that as we now being to restart services we are
doing so in a way which is safe and which continues to follow all
infection control and prevention measures to protect our patients,
visitors and our workforce.
There is also new national recommendations which we are
following as we begin to restart surgery which include the need for
anyone coming in for elective (planned) surgery to self-isolate for
14 days prior to coming into hospital and we will also be testing
all patients for COVID-19 prior to their surgery.
We are now able carrying out more planned operations (elective
surgery) after making changes earlier in the year as part of our
response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
These are procedures which patients know about in advance and
that we will carefully plan to ensure that the risk to patients and
our workforces is managed and minimised. It will allow many
patients who have been waiting for a procedure to get the treatment
Our teams have been working hard for some weeks to plan to
safely restart surgery during the pandemic, which includes
segregating areas for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, carrying
out regular deep cleaning of wards, operating theatres and
In line with national guidance, we are doing everything we can
to make the risk of infection as low as possible in the
Before coming to the hospital anyone having an operation will
need to stay at home for 14 days and we will arrange for them to
have a Covid-19 test as a precaution. This self-isolation and
testing is in line with national guidance set out to protect both
patients and staff. Patients who have planned surgery
must download the FitNote ( in blue box) for self isolation prior
to their hospital admission and present to their employers.
Further information about the steps to take to self-isolate is
available online: www.gov.uk
While waiting for surgery if any patient develops symptoms
consistent with Covid-19 they should contact our teams on the
number on their appointment letter. Do not come to the
hospital in person. For more information on Covid-19 symptoms
please visit here: www.nhs.uk
You will be given clear instructions about where and when to
attend for your operation and our hospitals will have clear signage
to direct you safely within the buildings and to promote the
practice of social distancing.
In line with national guidelines, you will need to wear a
face covering to come into one of our hospitals. On
admissions, clinical staff will discuss with patients changing this
to the appropiate PPE. Our teams will give clear instructions
and provide everything you need. Clinicians around the
hospital will also be wearing PPE and face masks.
All patients are allowed a one hour visit per day by a close
friend of relative. Relatives are also asked to telephone the
hospital before visiting.
Visitors must also wear a face covering at all times ( unless
advised otherwise by clinical staff).
We ask all visitors to maintain social distancing wherever
possible while in our hospitals.
Car parking is currently free at our hospitals.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham