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Coronavirus: information and advice

This page provides links to national guidance and information on the changes we are making in our trust to protect our patients, visitors and staff.

For information about Coronavirus, the latest government restrictions and social distancing, visit the NHS website, click here or visit the GOV.uk website, here.

Face coverings

While the Government roadmap plans to remove measures like this from everyday life from Monday, July 19, it’s vital that the public can be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.

That’s why, even after Monday 19 July 2021, anyone attending our hospitals and community settings must continue to wear a face-covering at all times to protect patients, visitors and staff.

It follows evidence from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that face coverings could help reduce transmission risk among those suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms.

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit. They are different to face masks in that they can be homemade, made of cloth, and be reusable. See here for details on how to make your own.

We urge you to bring your own face covering, whether bought or home-made, however masks will be available if you do not have one.

Please do not remove it unless advised to do so by a medical professional. Try to ensure you have no gaps in the sides of your face covering and avoid touching it.

Alongside wearing a face covering, people attending a hospital or community setting are asked to:

  • Wash their hands often and on entering and leaving the premises, use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available
  • Follow social distancing measures
  • Adhere to guidance issued regarding attendance and/or visiting
  • Come in alone, wherever possible

Visiting

Due COVID-19 pandemic we have made the difficult decision to make further restrictions to visiting for the safety of our patients and staff across all our hospitals, initially for the next two weeks (from 8 January 2022).

Visiting is only permitted in the following circumstances.

  • For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness
  • For birthing partners in maternity units
  • For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit
  • For long-stay patients and those with dementia or where best interest decisions or exceptional clinical/social matters are being discussed, at the discretion of the nurse in charge
  • Women can bring their birthing partners when attending 12 or 20-week scan appointments including all emergency assessments, all labour care and post-natal care until discharge, ensuring they follow the strict guidelines in place in the post-natal area.

For those that are able to visit we would ask that you continue to follow the below guidance currently in place. This includes:

Evidence of Rapid Lateral flow test prior to your visit

  • Those that are able to visit are asked to show evidence of a negative rapid lateral flow test prior to their visit. Your visit will be refused if there is no evidence of the rapid lateral flow test. Evidence of this negative test can be via the NHS confirmation e mail/text or by you bringing your test strip in a plastic bag to show the ward staff which will then be disposed of. The trust has had to introduce this additional safety measure, as used in care homes, due to an increase in exposure of patients and staff to COVID–19 directly linked to visitors.

Please don’t visit if you are feeling unwell

  • You must not visit if you are unwell, or one of your household have a new continuous cough or a temperature ?37.8°C or loss of, or change in, normal sense of smell or taste. If you have any of these symptoms or a member of your household does you need to self-isolate and contact 119 or arrange a test online via the government website for the person who is symptomatic.

Wash your hands and wear a face covering

  • Please wash your hands at the hospital entrance and wear a face covering when you enter the hospital until you leave. If you have not got a face covering a surgical mask will be supplied. There are also hand-sanitising points around the hospital – please feel free to use them.

We would like to thank all visitors for their support and co-operation at this time.

For more guidance when visiting click here.

For more information on maternity visiting, you can visit the web page here or read the guidance here.

Keeping in touch

Friends and relatives will be able to stay connected to their loved ones in hospital by ringing our patient phone line, on 0191 293 4306, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

There is also the opportunity for friends and relatives to send in pictures and photographs to our patients, by filling out this form, and emailing it to patient.experience@nhct.nhs.uk.

In addition, our patients can make unlimited phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles free of charge via our bedside units to help stay in touch with loved ones.

Non-urgent appointments and operations

We are contacting our patients with non-urgent planned operations and routine outpatient appointments to let them know their appointment is postponed. Emergency admissions, cancer treatment and other urgent clinical care will remain unaffected and continue to go ahead.

We are contacting patients directly – there is no need to call us.

Maternity care during the coronavirus outbreak

We are continuing to do all we can to support pregnant women as this time and have set up a COVID maternity helpline on 07823 907484.

This is for pregnant women who are booked to deliver with us.

The line is open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday and we will answer questions relating to pregnancy, care and visiting.

For clinical advice, women should continue to contact the hospital where they are due to deliver.

Find out more information here.

Chaplaincy support

From Wednesday 1 April, there will now be dedicated chaplaincy telephone lines for our patients to phone a chaplain from their mobile or their bedside phone in hospital.

A chaplain will aim to receive calls and check for messages between 10:30am and 2pm. Please contact the chaplaincy service on either 01670 529690 or 0191 2934268.

Social distancing

We are complying with social distancing restrictions by having ‘takeaway only’ in our Hospital Volunteer Service shops. Our canteens are closed to all members of the public however remain open for our staff. We have marked the floor in order for everyone to remain 2 metres away from one another, and all food is packed in bags to minimise contact.

Volunteers

We are currently appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.

We’re calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Find out more here.

Accessibility

Information on coronavirus in additional formats and languages.

Public Health England has published:

Easy read guides on:

Guidance in other languages including Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu:

 

For guidance in British Sign Language (BSL):

Signhealth is producing videos explaining the latest information and health advice in BSL. New videos are being uploaded as information becomes available.
Daily updates from the Government are also available with BSL interpretation at 5pm on BBC 107 or 231 and on BBC iPlayer.

Advice for the parents of deaf children can be found via the National Deaf Children’s Society.

For blind people and people with sight loss:

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is publishing it’s latest Covid-19 news and guides.

 

Useful Coronavirus Resources 

This video is for people with learning disabilities to help them understand about the tier system in place in England.  It describes what you can and can’t do.

This video is for people with learning disabilities to help them understand why wearing a face mask is important, how to find a face mask that suits them and how to get used to wearing it.

This video is for family members or carers of people with learning disabilities to help them understand why wearing a face mask is important, how to find a face mask that suits the person they support and how to help them  get used to wearing it.

Hand hygiene

It is essential that everyone keeps good hand hygiene, as it is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others protected against Coronavirus. We have installed handwashing facilities at our hospital entrances and we urge people to use these before entering our buildings.

You should wash your hands when you:

  • Get home or into work
  • Blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • Eat or handle food

Using the correct technique, for 20 seconds, with soap and water.

For more information, watch the video below:


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