CORONAVIRUS: Changes made to hospital appointments across Morecambe Bay health trust

The trust which operates the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is reducing the number of face to face appointments to assist with keeping the public and NHS staff safe during the current pandemic.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 12:20 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 12:22 pm
The Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

This will allow University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to adhere to the Government's advice on ‘social distancing’ and optimise its use of staff resources to care for patients with Covid-19.

For patients with existing appointment dates, face to face appointments will be replaced by a telephone consultation with a clinician in the vast majority of cases.

Patients who require further assessments or diagnostic tests, e.g. blood tests, biopsies or scans, will be contacted and asked to attend the hospital for a traditional face to face appointment.

This approach will allow the clinical teams to work with our patients to identify the most appropriate next steps for each individual patient.

For patients without an appointment date the clinical teams will be reviewing their medical records to determine what is a safe next step for their care.

Some patients will require no further hospital care and will be discharged, and some patients will be asked to join the established ‘Patient initiated Follow-up service’.

This service is especially useful for patients with chronic health problems in which symptoms come and go. The service allows patients to access health care when they have symptoms and need support rather than waiting for a booked appointment, which may be months away.

Foluke Ajayi, Chief Operating Officer, said: "It is important to note, we are not cancelling existing appointments, but patients will be asked not to attend for their appointment and to wait for further communication (combination of phone call, text and/or letter) letting the patient know that either a clinician will be telephoning them as near to the existing appointment time as possible to undertake the appointment with them; or confirm arrangements if assessment or diagnostics are required.

"As the advice for the public is to reduce social contact and to self-isolate; we are currently experiencing a large number of cancellations, up to 700 in one day recently. We believe that this new process should lead to fewer cancellations."

These changes will be introduced immediately.

For further information, please contact the Hospital Booking Centre on 01524 511966.