South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is urging people to help keep everyone safe by attending hospital appointments on their own wherever possible.
As coronavirus admissions continue to rise, the trust is trying to keep the number of people on its hospital and healthcare sites to a minimum to help stop the spread.
Ward visiting remains restricted, external meetings are taking place virtually, many administrative staff are working from home and anyone with an appointment is being encouraged to do their bit and attend alone if they can.
There are a number of exemptions to the outpatient guidance:
- Children can be accompanied by one parent or legal guardian
- Patients attending oncology appointments can be accompanied by one carer or relative
- Adults who require physical or emotional support can have one carer or relative attend with them if not having someone present would cause distress or difficulty
- Pregnant women can bring a partner to their dating (12-week) scan
Dr Uwe Franke, the trust’s clinical lead for emergency preparedness resilience and response said: “Many of our outpatient appointments are been carried out virtually using technology such as video conferencing, but if you are given a face to face appointment it is because our clinicians think it is necessary and can be carried out safely, so it is important that you attend.
“We are proud that our hospitals often act in normal times as a hub where outpatients, visitors, family and friends can take time to relax and provide support to one another, but these are not normal times which is why we’re appealing to people with outpatient appointments to help keep themselves and everyone else safe by attending on their own if they can.
“We have a fantastic team of therapeutic care volunteers at our main entrances who can help patients put their face masks on and find their way around the site.
“People can also help by not arriving too early – we have plenty of car parking spaces available – and leaving straight after their appointment.
“We are starting to see an increase in coronavirus patients being admitted to The James Cook University Hospital again, but the difference this time is that we are still running almost all of our other services so we need your help to keep everyone safe.”