NHS England have issued a plan for re-instating urgent and scheduled services to help local hospitals begin to increase routine operations and treatment.
Patients will start to be scheduled for important planned procedures, including surgery, over the coming weeks. Specialists will prioritise those patients with the most urgent clinical need. Before being admitted to hospital, patients will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and be clear of any COVID-19 symptoms. Increasingly, testing will be offered to those waiting to be admitted to hospital to provide reassurance to staff and patients that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
The plans specify that outpatient appointments will be conducted remotely, if possible, and those who do need a face-to-face consultation will be asked not to attend if they have COVID-19 symptoms. If people need a long hospital stay, they will be ‘continuously monitored for symptoms and re-tested between five and seven days after admission’. Patients discharged to care homes will be tested up to 48 hours before they are due to leave.