You MUST inform us if you are having capacity issues, staff issues (due to self-isolation) or if you have seen a drop off in patient activity so that we can support your practice during this time (where required)
As you are aware, the guidance on COVID-19 is changing fast and we need to ensure that we are providing our clinical network with the latest information and that everyone is adhering to the very latest recommendations.
Current Government guidelines are clear in minimising non-essential travel and public interactions, especially for people who are considered ‘at risk’ of complications due to other existing health conditions. Maintaining medical appointments is essential for maintaining visual health and ensuring that any eye condition left untreated does not become sight threatening. With the exception of those who are considered of a higher risk profile e.g. over 70 or have other health conditions, there is no reason patients cannot continue to be seen within community clinics. We would recommend the following procedures are establish to ensure and maintain a clean and safe working environment:
- All hard surfaces and equipment should be sterilised between each patient; waiting areas that have hard surface contact points (such as reception desks) should be wiped periodically during and at the end of the clinic session
- Issue all staff with face masks and operating infection control hygiene measures
- Display of notice on front door reiterating the NHSE questions (3 of them)Monitor staff health to ensure they are showing no signs of coronavirus
- Waiting room seating should be re-arranged to create greater space between each patient waiting.
- Additional family members attending should be minimised and asked to wait outside the clinic.
- Minimising the occasions you routinely dilate patients and therefor ensuring more patients can travel in their own vehicle alone and not require a driver or public transport.
- Patients should be encouraged to attend appointments on time, and not arrive unnecessarily early.
- For use on slit lamps, where possible use a face mask and eye protection. If unavailable, we recommend the use of breath guards.
- Only the patient to enter the building. Chaperones etc. must wait outside unless exceptional circumstances require them to attend
Where a patient chooses not be seen in the clinic, whether through cancellation or DNA, please ‘reject’ the referral back through the system (eVonnect) with appropriate notes to ensure that the central clinical team can risk manage these patients. In our key contract areas, we have worked closely with Hospital Eye Services clinical teams and the CCG to develop robust protocols for the implementation of a Virtual (Video) Clinical Decision Unit, supporting patients who may be at risk of infection, tested positive for COVID-19 or do not want to have a face to face consultation in a care facility. Where CCG’s do not want to deliver virtual based appointment to manage patient risk/safety, we will agree local pathways for these patients.