11th February 2020
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
The risk to the general public is moderate. If you have arrived back to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau within 14 days, follow the specific advice for returning travellers.
Anyone who has travelled to China or places listed above in the last 14 days and develops symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, should immediately:
Information for the public is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time, as members of the public who have visited Wuhan, Hubei province, China are currently in isolation.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford we will call one designated member of family every day between 1.30pm and 4.30pm with a daily phone update. Those who miss a call back during this time and are concerned can contact the helpline on 01234 730500.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.