The Law Gazette has published guidelines from “health leaders” setting out measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment, while keeping the necessary capacity and capability to treat future coronavirus patients. Planned procedures will apparently begin to be scheduled over the coming weeks, with obviously the most urgent taking priority.

Such patients will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days and be clear of any symptoms before being admitted, with possible testing taking place. Hospital staff have to be protected and we have to try and avoid Covid-free patients catching the virus actually in hospital.

Social distancing will be required at emergency and “walk-in” services, with many appointments taking place remotely, whether by phone or other media.  You must not attend in person with suspected Covid symptoms.

Regular testing and monitoring will take place during longer hospital stays and before discharge, especially discharges to care homes.

NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said:

“The number one priority for NHS staff over the last three months has been ensuring that all those who need urgent care, not just those with coronavirus, have been able to get it when they need it – and we have achieved that.

“Now that we are confident that we have passed the first peak of coronavirus, it is important that we bring back those services where we can, but only where that can be done safely – the virus is still circulating and we don’t want to put our patients, the public or our staff at greater risk.

“So our message to any member of the public who might have been putting off seeing their GP about treatment they might need is: the NHS is open and is working to deliver safe services, so please help us help you, and come forward for care when you need it.”

There are 5 main principles to the guidance:

  • Careful planning, scheduling and organisation of clinical activity
  • Scientifically guided approach to testing staff and patients
  • Excellence in infection prevention and control
  • Rigorous monitoring and surveillance, and
  • Focus on continuous improvement

In line with current guidance, all staff or members of their household who are symptomatic – or even without symptoms when there is capacity – should continue to be tested as part of infection prevention and control measures.

So perhaps a bit of good news for those whose cases are currently “on hold” where treatment or surgery is required before progress can be made. We can’t settle claims without a reasonably clear prognosis and we can’t get that prognosis without knowing the outcome of treatment.  Frustrating, but a necessary protection for the client to ensure appropriate compensation.

You only get one bite at the cherry!

Contact the Ringrose Law team for advice and guidance.

 

 

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