Trusts in England have been reminded about the measures they need to take around infection prevention and control.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England and NHS Improvement's Chief Operating Officer, has written to trusts, summarising the key actions that they need to take.
- Staff consistently practise good hand hygiene and all high touch surfaces and items are decontaminated multiple times every day – once or twice a day is insufficient.
- Staff maintain social distancing in the workplace, when travelling to work (including avoiding car sharing) and follow public health guidance outside the workplace.
- Staff wear the right level of PPE when in clinical settings, including use of face masks in non-clinical settings.
- Patients are not moved until at least two negative test results are obtained, unless clinically justified.
- Daily data submissions are signed off by the chief executive, the medical director or the chief nurse and the board assurance framework is reviewed.
- Where bays with high numbers of beds are in use, these are risk assessed, and where two metres’ distance can’t be achieved, physical segregation of patients is considered, and wards are effectively ventilated.
- Twice-weekly lateral flow antigen testing for NHS patient-facing staff is implemented, alongside PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) testing.
- Following testing guidance for patients, including testing all patients at emergency admission (whether symptomatic or not), retesting patients who go on to display symptoms as soon as those symptoms arise, retesting all patients who are negative on admission three days after admission and again five to seven days post-admission.
- Testing all patients 48 hours before discharge directly to a care home and discharging them only when their test result is available. Care home patients testing positive can only be discharged to CQC-designated facilities. Care homes must not accept discharged patients unless they have that person’s test result and can safely care for them.
- Testing elective patients within three days before admission, after which patients must self-isolate until the day of admission.
“It’s not just important for the protection of our patients, but also to give patients confidence that it’s safe to come to hospital if they need to and understandably, this issue has a high level of political, media and patient attention.”
– Amanda Pritchard
Being aware of how hospitals are working as they battle Covid-19 is important, especially as they are expected to operate as normally as possible, even in the current national measures.
More info >
NHS England and NHS Improvement website: Key actions: infection prevention and control and testing
Sky News website: Coronavirus: What are the different types of Covid-19 tests?
A look at PCR and LAMP testing.