Last updated: 24th September 2020
We continue to review all national guidance, statements and requirements related to Covid-19, and are consistently implementing them as required across our full range of services. Where local restrictions are in force we have standard operating procedures in place, which include adjusted visiting and leave arrangements. 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. Equally, if you have any suggestions or comments on how we are providing our services during these times, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Message from our Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
Further to the scientific guidance and the latest requirements announced by the Government and First Ministers during the week of 21st September, 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.
Operational leadership arrangements are in place across all services 24/7 and colleagues 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 published in August 2020, alongside local 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.
Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
Message from our Chief Operating Officer
As these challenging times continue into 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.
Chief Operating Officer
Information on visiting
We are now allowing visits to our services, within careful guidelines. These include the site being Covid-19 free, family members being symptom free, use of PPE, social distancing and hand hygiene, and also factoring in the requirements of any local restrictions that may be in place. If the service supporting your loved one is subject to local restrictions, but you feel there are specific circumstances meaning exceptional visiting should be allowed, please contact the contact the local hospital director or director of clinical services to discuss this further.
Where approved, visits can now include two family members if they are from the same household, and they are encouraged to take place outside in the grounds wherever possible and practicable. 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, other than exceptional circumstances where it is possible to enable this safely for all concerned. 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 at least weekly to ensure we are meeting patients’ needs and are in line with Government advice.
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.
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. In certain circumstances we are operating some face-to-face outpatient services, which are continually risk assessed.
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.