Last updated: 20th May 2020
Message from our Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
As the COVID-19 position continues to evolve, our teams remain focused on implementation of the latest guidance across all our services to ensure we provide the best possible care to the individuals we are supporting. Further to my previous update, I can confirm that our pandemic plans are fully operational and are subject to daily review to ensure their ongoing effectiveness.
24/7 operational leadership arrangements are in place and all services and colleagues have access to a dedicated helpline for any queries or requests for support. We are working to the national guidance on PPE published on 2nd April and subsequent updates, and our stocks are kept under daily review with clear lines of communication in place across the Group. We continue to work closely with the NHS and Public Health England to ensure adequate and appropriate stocks are maintained. All of our patients have access to testing as do our staff.
Our teams are in regular contact with key commissioners and are following national guidance related to the provision of information, including nationally-required reporting. On this basis, I regret that we’re unable to respond to requests for business continuity plans or general preparedness information. Instead, we are directing external stakeholders to the information contained on this webpage, which we continue to update on a regular basis. However, if your query relates to a specific individual placed at one of our services, please contact that location directly using the contact details available on this website and we will do whatever we can to assist.
Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
Message from our Chief Operating Officer
During this challenging time, there is a need for us to change working practises in order to keep our patients and staff safe. I need you to know that my number one priority is the safety of patients in our hospitals right across the UK. I understand that some of the changes to visiting protocols may be upsetting, please rest assured that we will do all we can to ensure contact takes place, albeit at times using alternative media.
The senior team across Healthcare are committed to supporting our services through this difficult period. Every day we monitor each site to ensure that they have the right resources, patients are feeling well, are safe and quality is maintained. We monitor for government guidance daily and enact it immediately. Our staff are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of our patients and to provide an environment that meets the need of their mental wellbeing.
During these difficult times, it is important that we work together to combat this global pandemic. We must ensure that we keep communication lines open and support our patients with both their physical and mental health. My team and I will do all we can to ensure that we support each NHS Trust, CCG, Local Authority, parent, staff member but most importantly our patients.
Chief Operating Officer
Information on visiting
We continue to implement social distancing in our services wherever possible. General visiting remains on hold and alternative arrangements have been put in place. To find out more about how you can contact patients and professionals using alternative methods such as Skype, please get in touch with the relevant hospital directly and they will make the necessary arrangements.
For some individuals we are very conscious of it being necessary to allow supportive visits from one member of their family; this includes people who are sadly on an end of life pathway and those with autism, a learning disability or dementia, who are distressed at not meeting with their loved ones. In these situations we are able to discuss arranging a visit with the individual and their next of kin. If you feel this is something that applies to you and your loved one, please contact the person in charge of the relevant Priory service directly.
Our usual practice of receiving and reviewing referrals will continue. We are committed to working closely with commissioners and families to ensure that potential patients have access to the treatment they require. Our services have identified support in their regions for things such as staffing, resource, space if required, and key skills, through their continuity plans.
We understand that local Trusts may require services in order to free up capacity within their own locality. We will continue to be flexible in order to support the local system.
For those who will require a new placement but the referral is not urgent, please do send these through to us as normal. Due to the ‘stay at home’ agenda we are reviewing alternative ways in which we can offer assessments through Skype and other online communication platforms.
In the event of a patient being referred who is self-isolating, or is confirmed as having COVID-19, we will continue to process this request as usual and seek to offer a placement, once they are cleared as fit to move location. Where a decision has been made to admit a patient, please be assured that a thorough pre-admission checklist, which will include robust risk assessment, will be completed. This screening and assessment will take into consideration all relevant factors, such as the location the patient is coming from, their current health, potential exposure to COVID-19 and the current status of the Priory service into which they will be moving. All risk assessments will be signed off by a member of the senior leadership team, who are taking every possible step to ensure the continued safety of all people who use our services within Healthcare.
It is important to us that Priory Healthcare is able to continue to support you and your patients during this time, and we commit to do all we can to ensure risks are managed and monitored, whilst continuing to facilitate placements, where all parties deem it safe. Discharges are not possible when a patient may be in isolation; we will work in partnership with the commissioner to ensure support during this time.
Support for families and carers
We know that this is a very difficult time for families and/or carers who may not be able to see their family member due to the restrictions that are currently in place. However all services are being creative in providing additional means for contact to be maintained through phone calls or video calling, as well as ensuring that family members and/or carers are updated on someone’s wellbeing where consent is given to do so. We want to continue to be flexible on how contact can be maintained and all of our services are linked in with the national practice networks to help them adopt the rapidly developing best practice.
What happens if patients present with symptoms?
If a patient presents with symptoms, they are isolated immediately and checked over by the Doctor. If symptoms are mild to moderate they will continue to be nursed in isolation on the ward. If their condition worsens, 111 will be contacted for advice and where necessary the patient will be transferred via ambulance to the nearest district general hospital for further treatment. Family, carer and NHS Trust/CCG will be informed immediately on any suspected cases and be kept informed throughout.
Isolation facilities and/or shielding
At all sites we have created the ability to ensure a safe isolation of our service users, which will be in a designated room, with their own bathroom facilities. Staff have been issued with Standard Operating Procedures based on national guidance to help ensure that a safe environment is maintained, that infection control processes are in place and that schedules of standard and deep cleaning are adhered to. If someone is identified as needing to be shielded, even though they may not be not symptomatic, we are able to provide them with an isolated environment whilst we continue to deliver the care and treatment that they need. This will be in a designated room that will be for their sole use.
Copies of our protocols for pre-admission screening and admission/discharge screening (including communication with partners) can be accessed by clicking the relevant links below:
Outpatient face to face therapy
To protect both patients and staff, we are not currently offering face-to-face therapy on an outpatient or day care basis at our Hospitals or Wellbeing Centres. Assessments and therapy can still be accessed remotely via our Priory Connect video service and through Skype.
Inpatient services are still available across our network of private healthcare hospitals, with flexible options for pre-admission assessments being offered.
Free addiction assessments
Free assessments will be undertaken via telephone or Skype to support individuals wanting to access our hospital addiction treatment services.
A children’s guide to COVID-19
The Children's Commissioner has created a children’s guide to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to help explain the current situation to school-age children and answer their questions. To read the guide, please click here.
A message from our Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
The Government is currently coordinating the national response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and Public Health England (PHE) has published a range of COVID-19 guidance for health professionals – including guidance on the assessment and management of suspected UK cases, and specific guidance for social, education or community care and residential settings. The NHS website also has updated coronavirus pages, bringing guidance for the system and healthcare professionals in one place.
Priory Group has established an Incident Control Team (ICT), led by the Group Director of Nursing, who is the Executive Director responsible for Infection Prevention and Control. This team monitors the official guidance from the NHS and PHE daily, and oversees the Group’s response and advice to individual queries and concerns, as well as the related business continuity planning across the Group in line with our Infection Control and Pandemic policies.
We have established a dedicated email alert system for our staff. This is monitored by the ICT and we have effective communication channels in place to keep our workforce up to date with the national guidance, as well as raising awareness to staff and those who use our services as to how Covid-19 is transmitted, and what measures individuals can take to lower their risk. We recognise the importance of continuing to operate good hygiene and infection control practices across all sites and services and we continue to reinforce this through our regular communications.
Due to the volume of enquiries being received I regret that we’re unable to respond to individual questions around preparedness (unless in extenuating circumstances) to ensure that resource is prioritised towards managing our response to the evolving national position.
Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
Advice and support for mental wellbeing
We have worked with some of our consultants and therapists to develop a series of videos, where they offer some practical advice on how to support your mental wellbeing across a range of conditions during this period. Click here to watch their videos.
For more information about coronavirus please visit the NHS Coronavirus page.