Last updated: 31st July 2020
Following the announcement of increased Covid-19-related restrictions across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, we have re-enacted our standard operating procedures for local outbreaks, including the implementation of our exceptional visiting protocol. This means that all visits to services within the affected areas are now suspended, apart from those falling within a number of specific circumstances.
If you believe the service supporting your loved one may be affected by these restrictions, please contact the site directly to discuss the local arrangements being put in place.
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 practices 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 have been difficult during this period; happily we are now able to begin easing some of these restrictions in a carefully managed way.
The senior team across Priory Healthcare are 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.
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, and staff member, but most importantly our patients.
Chief Operating Officer
Information on visiting
In response to the lowering of the R number, Government changes to the Covid-19 guidelines, and the reduction in the infection rate within our sites, we are now going through the process of carefully managed easing of visiting restrictions that were previously necessary.
We are now allowing visits across all of our services, following careful measures. This is subject to the site being Covid-19 free, family members being symptom free, use of PPE, social distancing and hand hygiene. Where possible, we encourage visits to be outside in the grounds. Visits can now include two family members, if they are from the same household. Larger family groups need to space their visits to keep the total size of the social group down. It is important to remember that whilst visits are an important part of every patient’s recovery, this has to be balanced against the risk of infection.
For sites with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19, we will suspend visits until the infection has been contained. During these times other methods of contact will be available including Skype. This is in line with Public Health England (PHE) advice. We review all leave arrangements weekly to ensure we are meeting patients’ needs and are in line with Government advice.
With the reduction in the national R rate, and given most of our services are currently free of infection amongst staff and patients, we are admitting patients to all of our services and will therefore follow our usual referral practice. 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.
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 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.
With the availability of testing for our patients, we can organise rapid testing and results for new admissions if risk assessment suggests this is required. The results will inform whether a self-isolation period is required, in line with PHE advice.
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 where visiting has to be suspended, and have also increased communication generally during this challenging time. We have reintroduced face-to-face advocacy for patients and our social work service remains dedicated to supporting families and patients in achieving clear lines of communication.
What happens if patients present with symptoms?
We have seen improved access to testing for patients and staff and all of our sites now have access to Covid-19 PCR swab tests for current infection. 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.
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
We are currently able to offer a range of options for outpatient therapy that includes digital therapy such as a secure video link, and face-to-face appointments, if Covid-19 safety protocols can be adhered to. 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.