We’re proud to have been designated as a “green hospital” within the health community. This means that we can safely undertake elective surgical procedures for patients that do not have COVID-19.
In order to maintain our “green hospital” status, a number of measures have been introduced to protect it, including:
- The creation of “zones” within the hospital
- All staff tested for COVID-19
- All patients tested for COVID-19.
- Screening of staff, patients and visitors on arrival at hospital
- Staff wearing scrubs and appropriate PPE
- Separate entrances to the hospital for different departments
The hospital has been separated into several zones to minimise the risk of cross infection. The zones are defined as follows:
- Super green zone
This area comprises of the ward and the operating theatre, and access to this area is restricted to patients who have been tested for COVID-19 and have received a negative swab result. Our staff members working within this area are asked not to cross zones wherever possible and welfare facilities for these areas are also included within the zone.
Prior to entering this area, all our staff and patients undergo screening, which includes recording of their temperature and completion of a questionnaire in relation to whether any COVID-19 symptoms are present. Only after completion of these can the patient or staff member continue to the ward/operating theatre. To minimise risk, 25 per cent of our staff members are tested weekly for COVID-19, with consultants being tested weekly as they are generally higher risk due to working in other hospitals.
Our endoscopy unit has its own separate entrance for the procedures we undertake, including gastroscopies, cystoscopies and colonoscopies. All our patients are screened on arrival and staff remain within this area with their own welfare facilities.
This area includes our outpatient consultation rooms and physiotherapy department. The minor surgical suite is also located within this area and we use this for cataract surgery and small local anaesthetic procedures. Anyone that enters the OPD area undergoes the daily screening and our patients undergoing cataract surgery are also tested for COVID-19.
The outpatient consultations are undertaken at times when the minor surgical suite is not in use, such as evening appointments, which minimises the risk of cross infection. The outpatient area also has its own entrance which enables our patients to enter and leave the department without coming into contact with anyone from the super green zone.
This is a separate zone at the back of the hospital with its own entrance, welfare unit and waiting area for patients requiring MRI scans. All of our patients can access this area without any contact within the hospital and each person will be screened on arrival.
- Support services
This area includes the majority of our other staff areas outside the previous zones mentioned, including admin support, facilities, portering and supplies. Our staff members within this area are included in the weekly 25 per cent COVID-19 testing of all staff within the hospital and the screening upon arrival each day.
All our staff members, irrespective of their role, change into the surgical scrubs we provide on arrival at the hospital. We also require everyone to wear a face mask following arrival into the hospital and this is maintained throughout the day, as per government guidelines.
We also expect our staff to be “bare below the elbows” to ensure the promotion of good handwashing and effective infection control measures.
Any interaction with patients also requires our staff to wear further personal protective equipment, which includes gloves, aprons, and visors where appropriate. If you are attending an appointment or visiting, we also require face masks to be worn when entering the hospital.
It is one of our top priorities to maintain social distancing within the hospital and in the waiting areas to minimise the risk of cross infection. Patients and visitors to the hospital, such as contractors, are reminded of this whilst they are waiting and notices are included in waiting areas to encourage social distancing.
Unfortunately, the hospital currently does not allow patients to have visitors at the hospital, unless there are exceptional circumstances, ie when a patient has mental capacity issues or requires assistance during their consultation.
We work closely with these patients to provide support and minimise the anxiety felt when attending hospital, however we understand that assistance is sometimes still necessary. We also endeavour to support communication for patients on the ward with the use of telephone and video calling where appropriate.
As a team we are working extremely hard to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our patients.
The turnaround between theatre cases may be slower owing to the infection control requirements, however patient safety is of the utmost importance and takes priority over all other matters.
In order to achieve this, we work as a team and all contribute towards providing a high-quality service for every patient.
IPC Lead Nurse
Head of Clinical Services