‘We will remain ready’ - Norfolk hospital to discuss next stage of pandemic plan

The A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospit

The A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital - Credit: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

A Norfolk hospital is setting out its plans to restore more services as it discusses the next stage of its coronavirus plan.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital board of trustees will meet on Tuesday to hear an update from its chief operating officer oas it looks to implement more operations and routine care which have been halted due to the pandemic.

As of Friday, 433 people who have tested positive for the virus have been treated at the hospital, of which 259 people have been discharged and 143 people have died.

As part of its recovery phase, the hospital is looking to create a covid and non-covid parts of the hospital, separated into yellow and green areas.

Denise Smith, QEH’s chief operating officer, said; “Even though we have moved beyond the first peak of COVID-19 and have seen cases decline in our hospital, mirroring the national position, we still expect to be looking after COVID patients for some time at QEH and across the wider NHS.”

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The hospital has restarted reintroducing routine care, orthopaedic operations and endoscopy appointments and as of last Friday the hospital expected its outpatients to resume at half capacity to allow for social distancing. Caroline Shaw, CEO of QEH, said at the end of April, the hospital was caring for more than 90 patients with coronavirus on its wards and critical care areas and is now treating less than 30 patients.

As part of its next phase the hospital will continue to use more video and phone consultations where appropriate for patients to prevent unnecessary visits to hospital, which has increased from 300 a week to 1,300.

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The hospital said the average age of patients with Covid-19 were aged 80, with many having multiple health conditions.

Since the launch of the testing centre last month, the hospital said it is testing 40 to 50 people a day. The site is open for symptomatic staff, key workers and the local community.

The community has also raised £30,000 for the hospital’s Covid-19 fund.

Mrs Shaw said: “COVID-19 will be with us for a long time yet and we remain ready should numbers start to rise again.

“Our focus now, however, is turning to what the NHS and our hospital will look like in the years to come and moving forward, which includes continuing our journey of improvement.

“For now, I would just like to repeat how proud I am of our staff and the way they have responded to COVID-19 and our unrelenting focus on delivering safe and compassionate care to our patients during what I can only describe as some of the toughest months of my career. Team QEH has more than stepped up to the challenge.”

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