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Last updated: 5th January 2020

Following the introduction of the restrictions across all four parts of the UK, we have reviewed all national guidance, statements and requirements related to Covid-19 and are consistently implementing them as required across our full range of services, as we have done throughout the pandemic.

We have adjusted our visiting and leave arrangements alongside the new national guidance for the particular types of service. If you believe the service supporting your loved one may be affected by these revised national arrangements, please contact the site directly.

Equally, if you have any suggestions or comments on how we are providing our services during these times, please do not hesitate to contact: coronavirusqueries@priorygroup.com.

Message from our Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control

We continue to ensure that all services across our four divisions and central support teams are meeting the requirements to keep everyone as safe as possible in these difficult times. Our pandemic plan remains fully operational, along with a specific focus on the management of flu and other seasonal-related conditions.

We are delighted that such great progress is being made regarding the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines, and we will continue to work to the national standards and guidance to take this forward in the coming weeks and are planning accordingly.

Given the national guidance across all four constituent parts of the UK, our operational divisions have plans in place taking into account the implications on visiting and leave arrangements. If you have any particular questions about the visiting arrangements for your loved ones please contact the relevant service directly.

Operational leadership arrangements are in place across all services 24/7 and colleagues continue to have access to a dedicated helpline regarding Covid-19 for any queries or requests for support. We are working to the latest national infection prevention and control guidance, alongside restrictions to manage local outbreaks as determined by the Government and local authorities. We continue to work to the standards and requirements relating to Covid-19 through our pandemic management arrangements, including our monitoring and provision of the appropriate PPE. 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 continue to be 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 site directly using the contact details available on this website and we will do whatever we can to assist.

Kind regards,

Jane Stone
Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control

Message from our Chief Operating Officer

As these challenging times continue through the winter, we are operating in accordance with our revised practices in order to keep our patients and staff safe. Our absolute priority continues to be the wellbeing of patients in our hospitals right across the UK. In the regions experiencing higher levels of Covid-19 we are working carefully within the requirements of any local restrictions that are in place, whilst continuing to provide our services in accordance with the national requirements in those areas not subject to specific restriction.

The senior team across Priory Healthcare is committed to supporting our services through this difficult period. Every day we monitor each service to ensure that they have the right resources, patients are well and safe, and quality is maintained. We monitor 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 their needs and ensures their mental wellbeing.

As these difficult times continue 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, and staff member, but most importantly our patients.

Warren Irving

Chief Operating Officer
Priory Healthcare

Information on visiting   

During the current restrictions the majority of visits and home leave will unfortunately be cancelled in all parts of our services. However, in certain situations individual arrangements may be required. Please discuss visiting and leave with the service which is supporting your family member. We hope you understand that we are taking this approach in line with national guidance and to keep your loved ones and others safe. Alternative methods to see or speak to your loved ones are available on request at the services.

Referrals

Despite the increased rate of Covid-19 infections across the UK, we continue to admit inpatients to our hospitals in accordance with our usual referral practices and the additional requirements made necessary by the current Covid-19 position. We remain fully committed to working closely with commissioners in ensuring that potential patients have access to the treatment that they require, as close to home as possible.

We understand that local Trusts may continue to require additional resource in order to free up capacity within their own locality. We will continue to be flexible to support the needs of all local commissioning systems wherever possible.

Admissions

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 it has been agreed they are well enough 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 a 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.

All of our patients are tested on admission and the results will inform whether a self-isolation period is required, in line with PHE advice.

Discharges

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 always possible when a patient may be in isolation; we will work in partnership with the commissioner to ensure support during this time. We have accommodated overnight pre-discharge leave where the clinical team have risk assessed this as being an important part of their pre-discharge process. This is risk assessed and carefully managed to ensure the patient is supported and Covid-19 processes are followed to protect the patient and other service users.

Support for families and carers

This remains a worrying time for patients and their families. We have increased the availability of additional means of communication for sites whilst visiting is affected, and have also increased communication generally during this challenging time. Remote advocacy for patients is available where we are unable to offer face-to-face contact, and all our staff remain dedicated to supporting families in achieving clear lines of communication.

What happens if patients present with symptoms?

We have access to testing for patients and staff. This allows us to get rapid results for suspected cases and to monitor outbreaks on wards and across sites. This means we can reduce cases and, where possible, keep restrictive protocols such as isolation focused on Covid-19 cases, whilst protecting those not infected.

If a patient develops symptoms, in addition to prompt testing, they are monitored with a medical check-up, regular National Early Warning Score (NEWS) monitoring and supportive interventions, including paracetamol and access to emergency services if there is any concern relating to a patient’s health.

Screening protocols

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:

Pre-admission screening

Screening on admission/discharge

Outpatient face to face therapy

We are currently able to offer a range of options for outpatient therapy that includes digital therapy via a secure video link and face-to-face appointments in specific circumstances, subject to risk assessment. We can offer both individual and group based treatments via video link and these have been well received by patients.

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 to help explain the current situation to school-age children and answer their questions. To read the guide, click here.

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.

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