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COVID19 - important information
15 June 2020

COVID-19 - Important information

Our focus is on ensuring we continue to deliver care to the people who need us.

We thank all our patients for their understanding at this time and every single member of SCFT staff who is going above and beyond to care for the people who need us.

Visitor information and guidance - updated November 2022

The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority.

SCFT aims to support the delivery of person-centre care to support the psychological health and well-being of its patients. The following principles have been put in place:

  • Anyone showing symptoms of an infectious condition, has a cough, cold, the flu, fever (greater than 37.8°C), diarrhoea or symptoms of COVID-19 should not visit. This is essential for infection prevention and control and to protect our vulnerable patient population.
  • Two (2) visitors, for at least one hour per day and ideally longer, where this can be facilitated.
  • Visitors are encouraged to wear face covering, including when entering and moving through the healthcare setting unless medically exempt for which evidence should be provided.
  • Visitors will be asked to wear a surgical face mask if visiting a high-risk area (e.g. an area with an outbreak and ICUs) or a patient with suspected/known COVID-19.
  • Visitors providing personal care to inpatients may be asked to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This will be based on individual risk assessments.
  • Children under the age of 11 who are visiting are encouraged to follow IPC guidelines such as practising hand hygiene. Wearing a face covering is optional.
  • Where a face-to-face visit is not practical then virtual visits should be supported and facilitated.

Pastoral, spiritual, and religious care needs

  • Patient’s own minister or other faith or belief leader can visit, following rules applying to visitors.

Outbreak management

  • One visitor at a time per patient will be able to visit. This number can be flexible in the case that the visitor requires accompaniment (e.g. if they require support or for a parent accompanying a child). End-of-life visiting will always be supported.
  • Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face covering, practice hand hygiene and social distancing - even more important - during an outbreak

These guidelines are subject to review at any time and in accordance with local and national changes.

Additional considerations:

End of Life Care

  • Patients at the end of life can have increased number of visitors in the last hours of life.
  • Staff will manage the safe facilitation of visitors and use their own risk-based assessment to decide to what extent more relaxed visiting arrangements can be facilitated.

Children and Young People

  • Whole families from the same household can continue to visit paediatric inpatients at Chailey Clinical Services, with prior agreement from the ward staff.
  • Parents/carers must always wear a face covering when entering and moving through Chailey Clinical Services; however, when inside rooms or separated environments, face coverings may be removed.

Outpatients, clinic appointments and minor injuries units/urgent treatment centres

One close family contact or significant other to the patient may attend to support the patient with complex/difficult decision making. This person is required to wear a face covering.

Our staff

Our staff continue to follow national guidance on the use of face masks in NHS services. You may see people wearing different personal protective equipment (PPE) in different areas.

Staff continue to wear face masks in patient facing areas, including reception and waiting areas, of Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs), Clinical Assessment Units (CAUs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs), Intermediate Care Units (ICUs), Children's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (CSARC) and dental services. Masks are no longer required in non-clinical areas, even when moving around.

Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms

If any member of your household/family have had a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus in the last 10 days, please do not visit our clinics, hospitals, or units.

Stay in touch

We know this is a worrying time for relatives of patients so we are doing all we can to help you keep in touch with your loved ones.

We have made iPads available on all our wards so that patients and families can stay in touch with a video call. You can prebook a time to speak to your loved one through our Patient Experience team by emailing sc-tr.messagestopatients@nhs.net or by calling them on 01273 242292. The team will arrange for a designated member of the ward staff to contact you to arrange the date and time of the call and to be there to help your loved one with the technology and set the call up if needed. Please be assured that we are adhering to Infection Control guidance and making sure the iPads are cleaned before each use.

The Patient Experience team is also running a personal messaging service that will enable friends and families to send messages, photos, grandchildren’s drawings, for example, by email so that we can arrange for them to be printed off and handed to our patients. Please email sc-tr.messagestopatients@nhs.net or call 01273 242292 for further details.

When contacting us, please tell us the patient's name, the hospital and ward they are staying on and a contact telephone number for you.

See also this Patient Experience team newsletter with details on how to arrange a video call or send in a message to a patient.

Appointments with us

We are following social distancing guidelines in all our clinics and units for the safety of our staff and patients.

Please do not attend your appointment if you or someone you live with has any coronavirus symptoms. The latest symptom list and up to date advice can be found at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

When you arrive you will be met by staff who are wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), which is in line with government guidance for the area in which they work. This may be a mask, apron or visor.

You may be asked to complete a questionnaire or answer some questions to check that you do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

You are now able to bring someone with you to your appointment if you wish.

To help keep you safe, please:

  • Sanitise your hands whenever you enter or leave a building or clinic. Hand sanitiser is readily available around our hospital sites and buildings.
  • Wear a face mask or covering, unless you are medically exempt.
  • Try to keep at least two metres (about three steps) away from other people.
  • Following any floor markings for one-way systems. You might be asked to use different entrances and exits.
  • Do not arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment. We are staggering appointment times, which reduces the number of people in the building and gives us time to thoroughly clean the rooms and equipment between patients. If you arrive early, you may be asked to wait outside the hospital building. 

Face coverings in our buildings

People are still asked to wear a face covering when visiting or accessing healthcare settings.

That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.                                                             

Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, mask and other personal protection equipment.

More information is available here.

Visitors should also continue to regularly wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.

Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using alcohol run

Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using soap and water

We know that for a few people, wearing a face covering might be difficult. This includes people with breathing problems, learning difficulties or a condition that would make wearing a face covering distressing. If there is a reason that you feel unable to wear a face covering, please do speak to a member of staff when you arrive at one of our sites.

We are asking people to bring and wear their own face coverings. If you do not have one, or you have forgotten yours, a member of staff can give you one.

Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face covering.

Appointments in your own home

Please read this advice for our patients who receive care in their own homes if you have an appointment with one of our community teams.

New NHS Diabetes Advice helpline 

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new helpline in response to disruption to normal diabetes services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response. 

The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate clinical advice.  

Whether you or a member of your household have caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline is available for immediate clinical advice to help you understand how to effectively manage your diabetes. 

You can access NHS Diabetes Advice via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399, Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.

Advice for parents when a child is unwell or injured 

Advice for parents when a child is unwell or injured 

Mental health support

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust can provide you with free and confidential support via the Sussex Mental Healthline. 

You can access the Sussex Mental Healthline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 0800 0309 500. 

Visit the NHS website for coronavirus advice

COVID-19 vaccination

Appointments are available through the national booking system at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119. Many centres are now also offering walk-in sessions, where no appointment is needed. Click here to find out more about walk in sessions at our vaccination centres.

Information about other vaccination services and the vaccination programme in Sussex is available on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccination, please contact sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net

Warning over COVID vaccination scams

Be on your guard against fraudulent text and email messages as new scams are being sent to patients.

People are receiving a text or email notification of their ‘vaccination appointment’ and are being asked to confirm it by clicking on a link. This looks very similar to the genuine texts being sent to patients to arrange their appointments at the GP led vaccination services.

Please follow the advice below. 

  • The COVID-19 vaccination is ONLY available from the NHS, and it is FREE – you will never be asked to pay for it or give your bank details.
  • If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
  • If you receive a text or email that you believe to be fraudulent, please delete it. Please be assured that if you don’t respond because you are worried and it is a genuine text or email, you will remain on the vaccination list and be contacted again
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to Sussex Police online or by calling 101

Guidance on official NHS texts

  • An official NHS text message from your GP practice or the organisation arranging the appointments for your GP practice such as the local GP Federation will include their details such as the name of the Practice, group of Practices or the name of the Federation working on their behalf. It may also include details of the vaccination centre. Scam text messages and emails usually don’t include his information 
  • An official NHS text message from the national booking system will be a reminder text so will include details of your booked appointment include date, time and location.

If you have any further concerns about something you have received, please contact the Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme team on sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net

What can I do to protect myself?

Your health, safety and wellbeing and that of our patients, communities and staff across our organisation remains our absolute priority. You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following PHE advice:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, use your sleeve, not your hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport, and when you get home or into work. Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using soap and water
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using alcohol gel
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Everyone who is eligible for a flu jab is being encouraged to get one this year. 

Follow the latest guidance on social distancing and self-isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Flu vaccinations

Everyone who is eligible for a flu jab is being encouraged to get one this year. 

Flu vaccination is important because:

  • if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu
  • if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
  • it'll help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus

If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It'll be effective at helping to prevent flu.

For more information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, contact your pharmacist or GP. More information is also available here.