SpaMedica Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

SpaMedica Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

We wish you and your families the very best of health during these difficult times. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during this time – our contact centre and teams are available 24/7 to support our patients and community optometrists. Please see below for the latest update regarding our services:

We are continuing to follow the advice from Public Health England, NHS England and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. We have devised new ‘Covid Secure’ pathways of care to protect you and our staff, which have been met positively by the relevant bodies. Please be assured we have taken many steps within all our patient pathways, to ensure the utmost safety both for patients and staff in these current circumstances.

We can confirm that SpaMedica has now reopened the majority of our hospitals for Cataract and YAG surgery. This is in addition to the hospitals that have remained open during this time, to provide acute and emergency eye care services such as AMD. Our remaining hospitals are expected to re-open in the coming weeks.

We are now accepting referrals again, through your local CCG referral pathways that have reopened. And we ask that Community Optometrists continue to follow the referral route as specified by their CCG, either direct by fax or email, via NHS choice centre, e-RS or other pathway, as appropriate.

Our hospital activity will initially focus on patients currently in our pathway, who have been waiting patiently during this period whilst elective surgery has not taken place. However, once these patients have been treated over the coming weeks, we expect to see all new patients, in line with our previous waiting times.

We will keep this page up-to-date with news on the re-opening of other hospitals and any further changes as they arise.

Keeping our patients and staff safe

In response to COVID-19 we have implemented many additional safety measures, detailed below, within our hospitals; this ensures we continue to care for our patients, safely throughout their patient journey.

Our Hospitals Are All Green / ‘COVID Secure’

All our hospitals are classified as ‘green’ hospitals; this means we have full control over who visits the hospital (by appointment and pre-screening only). Unlike other hospitals we don’t have unwell patients in our building at any time.

There is no risk of cross-infection or contamination from other specialities and we have control over everyone who enters and leaves our premises.

This also means that we don’t treat any COVID-19 patients, or patients with suspected COVID-19 – that’s why we’ll do a temperature check when you arrive at the hospital, as well as check with you for other symptoms. This also applies to our staff, who are routinely screened and checked for symptoms.

You (and all our patients) will receive a COVID-19 screening call from one of our nurses 24-48 hours before you attend the hospital to check your current health.

We’ll also run through some other information and medical checks with you on this call – this helps reduce the time you need to spend in hospital at your appointment.

Patients attending for a surgical procedure are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days before their theatre appointment and we are calling them 48 hours before they attend their operation to check that they were able to comply with this requirement.

Keeping Us All Safely Spaced Apart

We operate social distancing in our hospitals – this means maintaining a 2-metre distance between everyone (staff and patients) in the hospital, where possible.

There is social distancing signage throughout the hospital – please respect the 2 metre social distancing guidance throughout your time in the hospital. Each of our hospitals has rearranged our waiting areas for patients, with spaced out seating, so that patients are sat at least 2 metres away from other patients.

Patient appointments are being spaced apart to limit the number of people in the hospital at any one time – that’s why it’s important for patients to arrive on time for their appointment, but NOT earlier.

This is also why we can’t allow relatives and companions to wait in the hospital – they can accompany patients to reception, but no further and will be asked to leave the hospital at this point. We would like to reassure all our patients that if you need any help our staff will support you and we have wheelchairs and staff in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) who will assist you, if required, throughout your appointment.

The only exception to the above is if you have a power of attorney in place; and we ask you to please send us the legal documentation for this before your appointment.

In order to safely social distance on our patient transport, we can only allow two patients on our SpaMedica buses without relatives or companions.

The two patients travelling are assigned seats more than 2 metres from each other, and will be asked to use hand sanitiser, put on a face covering and their temperature will be checked before getting on the bus.

Our Safe & Clean Environments

We have always been meticulous about the cleanliness of our hospitals and know how important it is to have safe, clean environments for patients and staff.

We have introduced an even more thorough cleaning regime for each of our hospitals, which is carried out continuously throughout each day. This includes the cleaning of surfaces and equipment between each patient/use.

We have handwashing poster reminders throughout the hospital, as well as hand sanitiser units and stations.

We are asking all our patients and staff to wash their hands and/or use our sanitiser on entering the hospital.

Protecting You, Protecting Us

The PPE we use is of the highest quality and meets the standards set by both the Government and NHS. PPE is required to provide protection to patients for anytime we need to provide care within less than 2 metres.

Patients will need to wear a face mask or face covering in the clinic and on our SpaMedica transport buses. We ask that patients put on their face mask or scarf before entering the hospital or transport bus.

At reception we have screens to protect patients and our staff, as well as respecting social distancing and keeping 2 metres apart.

Our diagnostic equipment has been fitted with breath/splash guards.

This gives our patients and staff further protection when running eye health checks, in addition to the masks they’ll both will be wearing.

In order to protect both our patients and staff we’ve developed new pathways to minimise face-to-face time in the hospital and these significantly reduce the time a patient spends at our hospital.

Our optometrists will talk through each patient’s test results and their suitability for surgery and ask for consent for surgery to go ahead. In order to protect both our patients and staff our patients will wear face coverings/masks and optometrists will be wearing PPE, which includes a mask/visor, apron and gloves.

Patients will also spend some face-to-face time with the nurse, clinician and optometrist – this will be limited to eye and health checks using our diagnostic equipment.

NHS Guidelines

It’s very important that we all follow the procedures set in place by the NHS to contain and limit the spread of the virus. The NHS has outlined steps to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus, please click here for guidance.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Please click here to read advice about staying at home (self-isolation) and looking after yourself if you or someone you live with has symptoms.

What to do if you need medical help

While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell.

  • For help from a GP – use your GP surgery’s website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
  • For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
  • For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance.

If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.

Click here to visit the NHS site which includes more information on how to get medical help

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