Coronavirus: Northwick Park Hospital ‘on standby for a major incident’

PUBLISHED: 10:57 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 March 2020

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

PA Archive/PA Images

Northwick Park Hospital is on “standby for a major incident” to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to communications by the London North West University NHS Trust.

Northwick Park Hospital out-patient waiting room following coronavirus advice. Picture: Robert BecklesNorthwick Park Hospital out-patient waiting room following coronavirus advice. Picture: Robert Beckles

Changes to wards and dealing with in-patients and out-patients are being managed by staff the Watford Road hospital.

A staff member and more than one patient have been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19.

In an email seen by this newspaper, dated March 9, staff members are given direction on what action to take.

The email says: 'I'm writing to tell you that we are now on standby for a major incident to be declared in relation to Covid-19. This means that we must urgently: review all our inpatients, discharge all patients who can safely leave hospital.

'Please work closely with your teams in freeing up as many beds as is safely possible.'

It adds: 'We have moved some of our wards at Northwick Park to support us in caring for patients who may have or are confirmed to have Covid-19.'

The Intensive Care Unit has been moved to Elgar Ward and the Byrd Ward has become a centre for assessing and screening patients with respiratory symptoms. The hospital's surgical assessment unit has been moved to the main ward block on level 5.

'Where possible' staff must move to 'Same Day Emergency Care' for those patients who need to attend hospital to try and reduce overnight hospital admissions as much possible, it adds. Non-urgent patients who have cold or flu-like symptoms are being notified and told not to attend appointments.

'We are currently reviewing our options for continuing to care for our patients while minimising the number of people who need to visit hospital. In a large number of cases, we expect to be able to offer remote or virtual appointments, so that people can access care without attending in person,' says the email.

The email added: 'I know how hard everyone is working to ensure that we are well-prepared. Your commitment and team-work is absolutely vital during this time, and we truly appreciate it. On behalf of the whole executive team, please pass on our gratitude to your teams, and assure them that their work is both essential and valued.'

The Department of Health and NHS England were both contacted for comment.

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