In the next few weeks it is likely that all of our lives are going to be impacted in some way by the outbreak of Covid-19 virus. For most, infection will result in a mild cold/flu-like illness but cardiovascular patients are at higher risk of serious problems or death associated with this condition. We believe that this risk is higher in patients with poor heart function rather than benign heart rhythm problems like AF. Nevertheless we want to give our patients the best advice possible and so would recommend the following particularly if you are in a vulnerable group (over 80 or with heart failure) or have close contact with someone in a vulnerable group:
1) Avoid contact with large groups of people, like large gatherings or busy trains or buses.
2) Avoid contact with friends or relatives who regularly have contact with large groups. Unfortunately this may mean reducing or avoiding contact with school or nursery age grandchildren because they are likely to exhibit very few symptoms but have a high likelihood of transmission with their friends.
3) Follow NHS England’s advice (which would trump our advice if in conflict)
If you wish to have specific advice from us about your situation and condition then we can arrange a telephone or skype consultation to talk you through that. Most insurers are now reimbursing for this type of consultation during this crisis.
We recognise that we have a duty to continue to operate as effectively as possible in order to reduce the impact on our patients and the NHS, which is likely to be under considerable strain in the next month or so. In order to do this we have taken some specific measures:
1) We are converting patients to telephone or skype consultations whenever appropriate (i.e. they don’t need a test or examination)
2) We are ensuring that when patients do attend that they have all of their care and investigations delivered in one visit
3) We are isolating our floor from all other interactions within our building to reduce the chance of cross infection (something that only Welbeck is able to do).
4) We are screening all patients at the front door and asking them not to enter the building if they are at risk of Cov-19 infection and to apply hand gel before they enter the lifts and come up to our floor.
5) We are minimising unnecessary physical contact on our floor (no form filling or patients using coffee or drinks machines – well do that for them).
6) We are encouraging our staff to stay at home on full pay if they are concerned that they are unwell.
We hope that by being proactive we will be able to serve our patients and not expose them to unnecessary risk.