COVID-19: temporary changes to some of our services

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COVID-19: temporary changes to some of our services

In response to the coronavirus situation, Swansea Bay University Health Board is making temporary changes to the way we deliver some of our services.

We hope you will understand that we must reprioritise how we use our staff and resources during this extremely challenging time. Our focus is on keeping patients safe, and ensuring everything possible is done to provide care to those who need it the most.

We apologise for the inconvenience or distress this may cause, but ask you to please bear with us. 

Please be assured that emergency surgery and operations for cancer and other clinically urgent conditions will continue.

Outpatient clinics suspended

We have had to suspend the majority of our outpatient clinics. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Please be aware that we are only able to see URGENT cases. All others will be postponed until further notice.

Please do not attend a booked appointment unless you have had a specific text, phone call or letter asking you to come in. Please note - only correspondence since Saturday, 14th March should be taken into account as confirmation of attendance.

We will be re-booking your appointments as soon as possible and will let you know in due course. 

Outpatient clinics still going ahead

Some outpatient clinics will still be running. If you have an appointment with these clinics, please attend as arranged, in line with the instruction in your original appointment letter (unless you hear otherwise from us.)

Paediatrics

Neonates

Ophthalmology

Thyroid

Oncology

Renal - Go to this page for more detailed information for renal patients.

Antenatal - Go to this page for more detailed information on changes to antenatal care.

URGENT: COVID-19 VISITING Update

All general hospital visiting has now stopped, effective immediately.

The ONLY exceptions are: People with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not having a visitor present would cause the patient/service user to be distressed.
PAEDIATRICS: One parent or carer at a time
MATERNITY: One birthing partner
PALLIATIVE (end of life) care. One family member at a time, if it is safe to do so. Please discuss arrangements with the ward manager.

This is in response to the latest Government announcement about restriction of movements.

Please note: you must NOT visit if you are feeling unwell, especially if you have a high temperature or new persistent cough.

We do have free WiFi on all our sites, so if you can, please 'virtual visit' your relative or friend on their smartphone or tablet on WhatsApp, FaceTime, Messenger etc

To help us manage the surge of potential telephone calls our wards may now receive from relatives checking on patients, we are asking patients to nominate a single member of their family (or carer) to be the designated person to contact us.

If your loved one is not well enough or able to designate someone, we will discuss this with a family member.

Having a designated person will avoid several members of the same family ringing the ward.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Checking on patients

Families often get updates on patients’ progress when they visit, or they call the ward to find out.

With face-to-face information now suspended and COVID-19 pressures growing, there is a real risk that families and carers will find it increasingly difficult to find out how their loved ones are doing.

So we now have dedicated email addresses in place to assist with this. We ask that only one member of a family or one carer is the delegated person to be the contact point, and that they then make arrangements to tell the rest of the family.

Please ensure when you email us that you provide the patient’s name, address, date of birth and Ward details (if known) to help us identify them.

SBU.MorristonPatientContact@wales.nhs.uk

SBU.SingletonPatientContact@wales.nhs.uk

SBU.NeathPatientContact@wales.nhs.uk

If you do not have access to email, you can ring 01792 583700 to leave a message and this will be relayed to the ward once a day.

What you need to do:

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

If you think you or someone in your household has coronavirus, please go to this Public Health Wales web page and follow the advice.

COVID-19 updates for maternity services

As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop rapidly, we need to take all necessary precautions to protect the women and babies in our care and the staff caring for them. 

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are a fever (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) and or a new persistent cough.

These are the current arrangements for our maternity services in the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas.

Update - Arrangements from Saturday, April 2, 2020
Visiting Information Summary

We are requesting the following:

  • You are asked to attend all antenatal appointments including scans alone, no one should accompany you until further notice.
  • No visitors (this includes partners) are able to attend the antenatal or postnatal wards.
  • A birthing partner is welcome to attend to support you during active labour (once you are receiving one to one care) and birth. If you are transferred to our postnatal ward you birth partner will be asked to leave.
  • No children including siblings - to visit or attend any appointments.
  • If you have a fever, (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) and/or a new persistent cough, or have reason to self-isolate please contact us before attending.
  • If a birth partner has any of the above they should not accompany you.
  • It is imperative that you maintain social distancing advice at this time.
Further information can be found below

Swansea Bay Maternity Helpline- 01639 862216 or via email SBU.maternityhelpline@wales.nhs.uk

On Monday the 6th of April we are launching our Maternity Helpline where you can speak to a midwife.  You can contact the helpline Monday to Friday 0900-1700 hours if;

  • You have any concerns or queries about yourself, your baby or your maternity care.
  • You are symptomatic of COVID-19 or are in self-isolation and need advice about your ongoing care

If you have just found out you are pregnant;

  • Please contact the maternity helpline who will arrange your booking appointment with your local midwife, and provide early pregnancy advice. You no longer need to attend your GP surgery as this appointment will be conducted by telephone.
  • For any concerns or queries outside of these times, or if you think you may be in labour, please contact your community midwifery team or local maternity unit as usual.
  • Your routine antenatal care will continue to be provided at both the hospital antenatal clinics and the local community clinics in your area. It is very important that you continue to attend your routine appointments. Your new schedule of care for antenatal and post-natal care is based on the Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology joint guidance which can be accessed via the link below. Your midwife can discuss this with you at your next appointment.

Go to this page for guidance for antenatal and postnatal services in the evolving pandemic.

Go to this page for Frequently Asked Questions about your pregnancy scans during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • For women who need growth scans during their pregnancies these will be provided at 30, 34 and 38 weeks in most cases.
  • You are asked to attend alone for all community and hospital appointments including scans.
  • Our maternity services will be contacting you prior to any appointment to check you are well and have none of the symptoms of COVID-19. If you are unwell or are from a household where family members have symptoms will arrange your care as required.
  • No visitors (including partners) will be able to visit our antenatal and/or postnatal ward until further notice. This also includes Neath Port Talbot Birth Centre.
  • One birthing partner is able to accompany you throughout the duration of your labour and birth, this must be the same person. Where you and your baby are well you can be discharged home together within 2-3 hours of birth. If you or your baby need to remain in hospital for any time after birth your birthing partner will be asked to leave when you are transferred onto our postnatal ward. It is really important that you consider an alternative birth partner in case your main support is in self-isolation for any reason.
  • If you are giving birth at home, we also ask that only one birth partner is with you during your labour and birth, this is primarily to protect our midwives from necessary exposure to people during this time.
  • If you have been an inpatient after your birth, a suitable time for discharge will be agreed, a member of staff will help you to the main maternity entrance where your support can meet you to take you home.
  • Our community midwives will provide help and support via face to face visits and virtual contact where appropriate. Where midwives are visiting your home we ask that only you and your baby are present for the visit to reduce possible social contact with anyone else in the home

Thank you for your ongoing support at this very challenging, time please find further advice from hyperlinks below.

Go to this page for more information for pregnant women and their families from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Go to the Swansea Bay Maternity Services Facebook page.

CAMHS COVID-19 arrangements

Routine face to face CAMHS outpatient clinic appointments have ceased and our clinicians are instead providing telephone consultations for advice, therapeutic support and medication monitoring.  Face to face appointments are being offered on an individual basis as required to manage clinical need and risk.  

We hope to limit the impact of our reduced face to face clinic-based service and provide direct advice and support to children / young people and families at home with our enhanced CAMHS Telephone Single Point of Contact / Referral Line.  This is an open access service for children / young people and families (as well as for professionals / partner agencies), providing telephone advice, support and referral triage.  This service is available 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Please contact 01639 862744.

Sexual health clinics:

Sexual health clinics health departments across the health board will be on an appointment-only basis for the foreseeable future. Please see the sexual health webpage for details.

Physiotherapy:

Physio walk-in clinics are now suspended. However the Physio Direct telephone triage opening hours will be extended to 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday: 01792 487453 or 01639 683167/683168. Patients with follow up appointments booked will be contacted by phone.

Only essential and urgent clinical cases will be seen in person. This applies the muscular-skeletal, neurology, paediatrics and women’s health across all health board sites.

If you have an appointment with a community team, please contact that team directly for further guidance. New patients with appointments already scheduled for the coming weeks will be telephoned to discuss treatment plans.

Blood tests

Important update: As of Monday 20th April 2020, Outpatient Blood Tests in Morriston Hospital will be in a new location in the same building but on the first floor. Entry is via the old main entrance. There are lifts and stairs nearby.

Patients will be directed to a waiting area, and will be called in from there.

Signs will be placed in the corridors giving directions to the new location, and staff will be on hand to help with directions and registration.

For any enquiries, telephone 01792 703049

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All phlebotomy services visiting GP surgeries will stop until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience.

During this period we will be working with primary care colleagues to plan a new way of providing a phlebotomy service across the health board.

Until this has been set up, in the short term, limited services for ESSENTIAL blood tests only will continue in the hospital locations listed below.

If you are already in possession of a blood test request form, please consider checking with your GP whether it is essential that you have the tests done before attending the phlebotomy department, as we must reduce the risk to both to you and other staff and patients attending these locations.

Locations temporarily providing phlebotomy for ESSENTIAL blood tests only:

• Morriston Outpatients Department
• Singleton Pathology Building (not Outpatients)
• Neath Port Talbot Outpatients Department

Pharmacies

Please be aware that because of the current pressures, local pharmacies may operate different opening hours to accommodate additional work. They may open later, close earlier, or close during the day (e.g. noon to 2pm).

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

You can help our pharmacies by:

* Not visiting a pharmacy if you or anyone in your household has a high temperature or continuous cough
* Plan ahead where possible, try to order your next prescription seven days before it is due
* Put your contact details on your prescription so pharmacies can let you know when your medicines are ready to collect
*If you are self-isolating please ask family, friends or neighbours to pick up your medications for you. If you don;t have anyone who can, speak to your community pharmacy to see how they can help
*If you are well and able to visit the pharmacy yourself, think about how you can help family, friends and neighbours who are self-isolating

Rapid Diagnostic Centre, Neath Port Talbot Hospital

The RDC has now reopened after being temporarily suspended. 

Dental services 

All dental practices remain open for children and adults throughout Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, but with a reduced service. 

Dentists and their teams continue to work to their normal high standard of infection control and you will already be used to seeing dentists in masks, gloves and visors routinely. But during this time dental staff may also have to use additional items. These are pieces of equipment commonly being used at our hospitals.

Dentists can’t currently use drills, because the fine sprays generated by them could be an infection risk at the moment. But there are still plenty of services available.

If patients ring up with a toothache, swelling or non-healing ulcer now, they will initially get a telephone consultation.

Dentists will review your case over the phone and if it is something simple like a broken filling they will give advice on how to manage them for the time being. Depending on the problem, they might offer prescription antibiotics or painkillers.  Video links trials with patients to further aid patient care are also being considered.

If a dentist cannot assess you over the phone you will be asked to come to the surgery to be assessed in person. While dentists can’t currently drill teeth, they can still provide temporary fillings, or extract a troublesome tooth if it is simple and uncomplicated.

For patients who are urgent cases and do need to have more complex care or procedures, the health board has set up an urgent dental centre, which all dentists in the area can quickly refer patients to. Staff there are equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment, which allows them to safely carry out these more complex procedures.

It’s important that people continue to contact their local dentist if they have urgent problems such as a swelling, pain that is not relieved with simple analgesia within 24-48 hours or if they have ulcers which are not healing within seven days.

No-one should be suffering from toothache or a dental infection - your local dentist is able to provide care and advice quickly. 

Minor injuries

From Monday 13th April, patients with minor injuries will NO LONGER be seen at Morriston Hospital Emergency Department. ALL minor injuries will be treated at the Minor Injury Unit at Neath Port Talbot Hospital only.

If a patient with a minor injury presents at Morriston Hospital, they will not be seen and will be re-directed to the MIU at NPTH.

Patients who have minor medical conditions are asked to contact their GP or visit their local pharmacy.

For help planning your journey by public transport, please go to www.traveline.cymru 

Fracture clinic

In addition, the fracture clinic at Morriston Hospital is also planned to move on Monday to Neath Port Talbot Hospital. Patients with a fracture clinic appointment are being contacted directly to advise them of the change of venue.

This is to support the changes needed at Morriston Hospital to care for patients with COVID-19.

Thank you and please stay safe!

Children's Services

We are rearranging some of our children’s services in Morriston Hospital in response to COVID-19.

From Monday, 30th March, the hospital’s Paediatric Emergency Department will be co-located with the Paediatric Assessment Unit to form a dedicated Children’s Emergency Unit (CEU). This is to protect children and their families during the outbreak.

The entrance to CEU is located by driving past the main emergency department entrance and taking the next right turn. Signage will be visible.

The unit will accept patients aged 0-16.

We are currently only allowing one parent or carer, and the entrance is drop off only. Parking is usual hospital parking areas.

The pathway for GP referrals remains the same.

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