News & Media

Media Release

Date: 14 August 2020

RUH reassures patients on attending elective care appointments

Patients waiting for elective, planned treatments at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) are being reassured that it is safe to take up their rescheduled appointment dates as the hospital returns to providing 'new normal' services.

With the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 continuing to decline, services across the South West are gearing up to work their way through the backlog of patients who had their treatments delayed at the height of the pandemic.

RUH Head of Surgery Derek Robinson said: "It's perfectly understandable that some people may have concerns about coming into hospital.

"I want to reassure everyone that we are here and ready to provide treatment for those who need our care, that the hospital is safe and that it's really important to attend your appointment. If you feel you need to be seen, whether it's for a planned appointment or in the emergency department, please do come to hospital. Our staff will be using the correct infection-control measures and protective equipment and we will help you in the safest possible manner."

The RUH is now restoring more elective, planned treatments and surgery, seeing more outpatients either face to face or by virtual appointments, and working with independent providers in Bath to adapt services to ensure that patients in greatest clinical need or waiting longest are prioritised.

Over the coming weeks, people who need important planned procedures, including surgery, will begin to be scheduled for that care.

At the same time, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines have changed for patients self-isolating before elective treatments. Previously at the RUH, all patients, and their households, were asked to isolate for 14 days before the date of surgery.

Now, pre-operation, those categorised as clinically vulnerable must :

  • Socially distance for 14 days and follow hand hygiene measures
  • Have a COVID-19 swab test 72 hours pre-op
  • Self-isolate for three days post COVID swab

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable must :

  • Self-isolate for 14 days
  • Have a COVID-19 swab test 72 hours pre-op

Children, unless clinically extremely vulnerable, must :

  • Socially distance for 14 days
  • Have a COVID-19 swab test 72 hours pre-op

Dr Michael Marsh, Medical Director at NHS England and Improvement said: "The resumption of elective treatments is a very positive step in the restoration of services in the South West. Whilst the numbers of outstanding electives are large, we know we can work through this with the help of patients who need treatment.

"Inevitably there will continue to be delays. However, rest assured those people in need of treatment will receive it as soon as practicably possible."

ENDS

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