Safety measures to remain in place at hospitals
Current pandemic safety measures are set to continue at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside for the foreseeable future.
Safety measures introduced nationally have helped protect staff, patients and visitors over the past year from infections such as Covid-19 and flu.
The measures have also enabled Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to continue providing many of the non-urgent services that may have been postponed.
Staff, visitors and outpatients at the Trust’s ten hospitals are currently required to wear face masks, socially distance and wash their hands before entering the site and Northumbria is now planning to continue the measures into the future.
Officials hope wearing masks, social distancing, pre-booking visitor slots and installing sinks outside all buildings will also prevent people spreading flu, norovirus and other variants during the rest of the year.
Sir James Mackey, chief executive, said: “We keep these sorts of issues under constant review but it’s clear that the infection prevention control measures at hospital sites will continue to be vital in protecting everyone into the future.
“As we head into another very busy period our main concern is keeping everyone as safe as possible, particularly as we look after some of the most vulnerable people in society at a time when they are often very ill.
“Simple things like increased hand washing and wearing masks will play an important part in making hospitals as safe as possible but also enabling us to continue providing all the treatment and operations that we need to in order to reduce the backlog that has built up during the pandemic.”
Efforts have also seen waiting lists and times kept as short as possible, with 14,500 procedures or operations carried out during the pandemic.
Sir James added: “To help keep things moving we’ve really focused on day case surgery and we’re probably doing around three times as many of these short, low length of stay operations as other areas.
“We have been able to do a large proportion of our elective activity compared to last year while urgent cancer operations, trauma surgery and orthopaedic surgery have never stopped.
“To help get even more patients through the system we’re now looking to expand our operating theatre footprint even further, using new equipment, increasing staffing, introducing new training posts and investing millions of pounds in new facilities.”