The NHS in Leeds is beginning to restart services that had to be suspended as we dealt with, and continue to deal with, coronavirus – a global public health emergency. Throughout this period we ensured that people in Leeds (and beyond) could access treatment for urgent and life or limb-threatening conditions or emergencies.
We fully understand that for many people waiting for treatment, this is a difficult time when having to manage an existing health condition. We really appreciate your patience and are working hard to get our services running again.
There are a number of factors we have to consider when restarting our services which we’ve outlined below.
- When inviting people back in for any treatment, we have to base it on clinical urgency and assess the risk to all patients of any further delays.
- As part of our workforce risk assessments we have to consider the impact on those who need to be moved away from frontline care roles due to the risks to their own health. In addition we need to make allowances for staff who need to be off work due to illness, being asked to self-isolate as part of the NHS Test and Trace programme and those who need to take a break to ensure they can provide a service safely.
- Our services need to be provided in COVID-secure environment, minimising the risk of spreading coronavirus to our patients and our staff. To do this we’ve had to introduce new ways of working across all healthcare services including, but not limited to the following:
- All initial patient appointments will be done over the telephone or by video consultation unless you’re advised otherwise.
- To make our services safer for everyone we’ve had to change our facilities to provide cold/blue or hot/red zones so that we can minimise the spread of COVID-19. We also have to ensure we are following social distancing. This in turn reduces the amount of space available to us, including the number of hospital beds we can use as well as the number of people who can work in a clinical space.
- As part of our plans to restart services we also need to factor in that anyone coming in to hospital for an operation or a diagnostic test will need to self-isolate for 10 days before their procedure.
- We will have to test all patients for COVID-19 before they come into hospital and ensure we have capacity in our designated areas for people who test positive for COVID-19.
If you were booked in for any treatment such as an operation, we will contact you in due course to explain the next steps, including any further delays you may experience. Your treatment may also be postponed.
If, while waiting for operations, you begin to feel unwell or are struggling with managing any ongoing pain please call your GP practice in the first instance or NHS 111. We will then work with you, and any healthcare professionals involved in your care to consider the safest options for you.
If you need emergency help should please call 999 or go to the nearest accident and emergency department, remembering that emergency care is for a life or limb-threatening condition only.
Our priority will always be the safety of our patients and our staff, we hope you understand the reasons why we can’t restart all services with immediate effect. The services are now pretty much all running, but at much reduced capacity and with significant urgent cases taking priority.