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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 in these challenging times.

Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms

If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of coronavirus please do not visit our clinics, hospitals or units.  This also applies to a GP surgery, pharmacy or acute hospital.

The latest advice on what to do is available on the NHS website.

Visit the NHS website for coronavirus advice

COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all adults over 18 in England.

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:

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

Visitor information and guidance

Visiting in a careful and COVID-secure way is now allowed in all our inpatient settings. This means: 

  • All patients can receive a daily visit from one close family contact or somebody important to them
  • Patients receiving end of life care – one visitor permitted at a time, with up to four visitors in a day
  • Patients requiring individual carer support – identified carers can support those with care requirements
  • Whole family ‘bubbles’ can continue to visit paediatric inpatients at Chailey Clinical Services, with agreement from the ward staff.
  • Where a face-to-face visit is not practical then virtual visits should be supported and facilitated.

Anyone showing any symptoms of coronavirus should not visit. If visitors display symptoms of coronavirus they should be asked to leave, self-isolate at home for 10 day and organise a PCR test; members of their household should also self-isolate for 10 days.

Before visiting the visitor should contact the ward/unit and arrange a specific time to visit

Face coverings and PPE:

  • all visitors must always wear a face covering at all times during their visit
  • visitors will be asked to wear a surgical facemask if visiting a high-risk area or a patient with suspected/known COVID-19

Supporting patients to 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 of 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 new personal messaging service that will enable friends and families to send messages, photos, grandchildren’s drawings etc 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.

Face coverings in our buildings

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

COVID restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday 19 July 2021. However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors.
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 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.

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
  • Attend your appointment alone, where possible. We understand that you may need someone for support or an advocate. We also appreciate that there will be times when you will need to bring your children with you to appointments, or you will be accompanying children to appointments. If this is the case, please contact your care team to discuss.
  • Wear a face mask or covering, unless you are medically exempt
  • Try to keep at least 2 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. 

Appointment advice for patients who are shielding

We understand that you may be worried about attending an appointment if you, or someone you live with, is considered to be 'clinically extremely vulnerable'.

You should continue to follow the Government’s shielding guidance, however, if you have been contacted about a face-to-face appointment this means that a specialist team has considered that your appointment is important, and that not attending would be a greater risk to your health.

Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to make your appointment with us safe, and we have very high standards of infection control in place.

Please make sure you read and follow the advice set out above about attending appointments.

If you are experiencing symptoms but you still need to attend your appointment, please contact your care team. They will be able to make any necessary arrangements. Please do not travel until you have contacted us.

We understand that these changes will be difficult, and we thank you for your patience and support during this time.

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.